Journeys to the West

The Rise of the Chinese Traveler

The classic Ming Dynasty novel “Journey to the West” tells the tale of Xuanzang, a Chinese monk trekking to India to study Buddhist scriptures alongside a colorful collection of magical characters. Nearly 1,400 years after Xuanzang’s journey, the world’s most populous nation is again on-the-move. 

The number of outbound Chinese travellers has been rapidly growing, with trips set to exceed 100 million for the first time in 2014, then double to 200 million over the next five years as China’s rising middle class emulates Xuanzang’s example in seeking enlightenment and adventure abroad (plus, perhaps, just a bit of shopping). Growing passenger numbers and high “per pax” spending (in the top five of all nationalities) have rocketed the Chinese to the top of the league tables for total travel retail spending. Consequently, the rise of the outbound Chinese traveler has been one of the most exciting stories in international retail over the last several years.


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