Top Five Facts About Chinese FIT Travelers and In-Destination Activities

We all keep hearing that the Chinese traveler will be crucial to the future of NYC (and thus Broadway) tourism moving into 2018 and beyond.  As this market matures from guided group travel into individual (FIT) travel, what will that mean for NYC attractions?

Luckily, Trip Advisor has commissioned a fantastic study from Phocuswright to look at the change in Chinese travel habits, as driven by a rising number of younger travelers. Hat tip to Lian Liu, Director of Tourism Development (Asia-Pacific) for NYC & Company for sharing this info with our team!

#1: Theatre isn’t at the top of their list.

But 17% of the projected 1.011M visitors in 2018 is still $14M in ticket sales.  I WILL TAKE YOUR MONEY.


#2: The Chinese market will purchase the majority of their FIT travel on mobile starting in 2016

The top sites for travel bookings are Ctrip, Qunar, Tuniu, LY.com and Alitrip.  Broadway Inbound is launching a local office in China to get more Broadway shows featured on these sites, which is important because Chinese travelers need to either pay cash in person for tickets or book through a website that can accept local payment methods like UnionPay and Alipay.


#3: FIT travel peaks in early October

77% of Chinese travel occurs between May and October – with 29% of trips taken in October around National Day (October 1-3).  Considering this is Broadway’s low season, it seems there are some opportunities here.


#4: Escorted group tours still represent 2/3 of outbound travel

That’s not a bad thing.  This can include huge incentive groups that sell out multiple shows on one evening – but these groups plan over a year in advance, so only the shows with long onsale windows are eligible to make a play for this business.


#5: 77% of Chinese travelers to the US in 2015 were first-time visitors

AND 78% of first-time visitors travel as part of an escorted tour – which decreases to 54% for future trips.  A new visa was introduced in late 2014 that allows multiple entries into the US over a ten-year period, which makes it substantially easier for Chinese visitors to become “experienced” NYC tourists. And those experienced tourists are more likely to make their own decisions regarding theatre tickets.