It's no big secret – Chinese tourists are everywhere. From the farms of Australia to the hustle-and-bustle of New York City, the Chinese tourist has become a familiar sight throughout the world. China's mass tourism has also become a bit of a problem. Chinese tourists have built a reputation for being rude or downright destructive. While cases of tourist misbehavior continue to dog the headlines, one thing is undeniable: they are the most important tourist demographic in the world. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), China remains the world's largest spender on tourism, accounting for an entire fifth of the world's total international tourism spending at a whopping $277 billion USD.
So just where are Chinese tourists spending their money?
Here are the top seven destinations.
Japan is extremely popular amongst Chinese tourists, who often take trips to Japan for their high-end cosmetics and skincare
Many Chinese tourists also tout Japanese "must-buys.” Commonly known as the "Four treasures", rice cookers, ceramic knives, vacuum-insulated thermoses, and high-tech toilet seats are especially popular amongst Chinese visitors.
Beyond shopping, Japan's unique culture and cusine continue to inspire tourists to make the sojurn east.
It's really not hard to see why.
Thailand boasts scenic locales, as well as various UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the historic city of Ayutthaya.
The country's relative cheapness and proximity to mainland China also make it an easy travel destination for Chinese tourists looking for a quick getaway.
And it’s not just for Chinese tourists: Bangkok (Thailand's capital)is the most popular destination in the world.
3 South Korea
South Korea's cosmetics, skincare, and fragrance products remain popular amongst Chinese citizens.
The rise in popularity of K-pop and K-dramas in China has also led to renewed interest in South Korean products and services.
Some visitors are also enticed by South Korea's cosmetic surgery procedures. Seven out of 10 foreigners who went to South Korea for cosmetic surgery came from China.
4 The United States
The U.S. remains popular as a shopping destination for many Chinese tourists. Brands such as Kohl's, Macy's, and Sears enjoy a stellar reputation amongst tourists.
There are also more than 360,000 Chinese students living in the U.S.. Many of the tourists from China include worried parents looking for a family reunion over the holidays.
Singapore is a country that ranks amongst the safest travel destinations in the world. Low crime rates, coupled with an abundance of premium shopping outlets, make Singapore especially attractive for Chinese travellers.
And for those who choose to mix business with pleasure, Singapore is also an important center for transregional commerce and has been helmed the "Gateway to Asia.”
Australian agricultural and natural products remain highly sought after in China. Products such as formula milk are especially popular. The aftermath of the 2008 tainted milk scandal in China saw Chinese interest in Australian formula milk explode. This year, Chinese military personnel were seen loading a navy warship with Australian baby formula before leaving the Sydney harbor.
Of course, there is also Australia's natural charisma. Australia's natural scenery and farm stays (sort of like holidays on a working farm) provides a very different and unique experience to the Chinese traveller.
Think Louis Vuitton bags, Hermes perfume, Le Bon Marché, and Galeries Lafayette. Many of France's high-end items remain the perfect status symbol for Chinese tourists.
Paris (France's capital) is also, of course, synonymous with romance and is perfect as a romantic getaway. It's no wonder that Paris is also the second most visited city in the world.
It is estimated that just 9% of Chinese citizens possess a passport, while 42% of Americans and 76% of Britons have one. So it is safe to say that we haven't even begun to see the peak of the rise of the Chinese tourist.