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Spain Loses Its Popularity While Portugal Attracts More Chinese Guests

News Hotels in Lisbon have seen a definite increase in the number of Chinese guests recently as Beijing Capital Airlines has launched a direct flight from Beijing to the capital of Portugal. The flight route appeared a year ago, and so now it is already clear that the new service is a success.

The flight connects not only Beijing but also Macau and Hangzhou to Lisbon. Within a year, more than 14,000 Chinese traveled to Portugal using this new route. As many as 73% of the passengers decide to stay in the city. Last year was successful for the tourism industry of Portugal in general. Year-on-year arrivals were growing, adding 41.8% and 42.1% respectively in the second and third quarters of 2017. Portugal’s competitor in the tourism area, Spain, posted much weaker results. Summer 2017 season was spoiled by the terror attacks in Barcelona. In August 2017, 8.2% fewer Chinese travelers visited Spain. In the fourth quarter of the previous year, the decrease estimated 5%.

Unrest in Spain helped Portugal to attract a record number of Chinese visitors. The annual total reached 257,000 guests from China. In 2012, less than 55,000 travelers from this country visited Portugal, so the European destination managed to reach an increase of 370% within just 5 years. The year-on-year growth in the number of Chinese guests reached 40.3% in 2017. Spending of travelers, however, was growing faster, reaching a year-on-year increase of 80%.

The increase is particularly visible after the launch of direct flights. The fourth quarter of 2017 was the first full quarter after the launch of direct flights. If we compare this period to Q4 2016, we can see a significant difference. In Q4 2016, 46,200 Chinese visitors arrived in Portugal and 64% of them (29,500 arrivals) were for leisure purposes. In Q4 2017, 65,600 Chinese visitors arrived in Portugal and 80% of them or 52,500 visitors came for leisure purposes.

The flight route also made Portugal more accessible for Chinese visitors from tier three or below cities. If in Q4 2016 only 10% were from smaller Chinese cities, in Q4 2017 already 20% of all visitors were from their three or below cities. What regions are Chinese guests particularly interesting in? The analysis shows that the Centro, Algarve, Alentejo, and the Azores are the most popular regions that Chinese travelers enjoy visiting the most.


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