Who are the tourists who spend money while travelling? The rise of Chinese purchasing power is public knowledge. How much has such development affected the tourism market? What languages are the tourists speaking today and tomorrow?
UNWTO has published a survey which also includes data on tourism expenditures by country. The table in the report includes only TOP10 countries, but even this piece of information is possible to use for quick analysis and drawing some rough conclusions.
In TOP 10 are 3 mostly English speaking countries: UK, USA and Canada (Australia was not in the TOP10). The other 7 countries speak different languages.
Let’s analyze what has happened in the TOP10 list during 2000-2009. The Chinese expenditures have risen from 2,8% to 5,7% of the world’s total. China has now crossed the line of France. While the worldwide economic decline in 2009 decreased the total amount of world expenditures, Chinese expenditures increased also in absolute figures, from $36 to $49 billion USD.
Japan on the other hand has given up a large share and has fallen from 6,7% to 2,9%. The 3 large English speaking nations have also decreased from 24% to 17%. As shown on the chart below, this trend started already long before the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009.
Tourism expenditures by origin country
So when will Chinese and English languages become equally important for servicing tourists?
For a little amusement, let’s make a simple forecast and draw trendlines (using Excel TREND function as a handy tool). We also leave aside the possible influences from other languages and focus on Chinese and English. Using this approach, the almighty chart says that English and Chinese speaking tourists spendings will cross at year 2027. That’s in 17 years!
Some other conclusions:
This scenario would also mean that some other countries (languages) will also become more important, because the sum of English and Chinese shares would make only 15% in 2027 while they were 27% in 2000….
Or.. the slopes of trends have to change.
This is as far as this limited data allows to go. If somebody has the similar information for larger number of countries, let us know!
- Share of spending: Chinese vs English speakers