Recent data from Alipay underscores the popularity of France as the primary European destination for Chinese shoppers during the Golden Week shopping festival this year, with Italy taking the second spot. Despite changes in VAT regulations for tourists, the UK secured a commendable third place.

Although being ranked third is indicative of the impact of the recent VAT changes in the UK, it still demonstrates a robust performance. The shift in traveler preferences toward cities like Paris and Milan due to these changes is apparent. Overall, European countries remained highly coveted destinations for travel and shopping during the Golden Week period, with Spain and Switzerland rounding out the top five, following France, Italy, and Britain.

Notably, proximate Asian destinations, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia, also played significant roles during this period. Additionally, there was a notable surge in Chinese tourist spending through Alipay in less-explored destinations like Estonia and Qatar, indicating a shift in travel preferences.

During the first five days of China’s National Day holiday in 2023, the average spending by outbound Chinese travelers exceeded 2019 levels, signifying a sustained resurgence in Chinese travel.

Alipay data revealed that the highest spending category was the purchase of goods, which included skincare products and duty-free items, surpassing all other activities. Food and beverages, along with accommodation, ranked as the second and third largest spending categories, respectively. Clearly, Chinese tourists were indulging themselves upon reaching their chosen shopping destinations.

Furthermore, Alipay emphasized that Chinese travelers highly value personalized services, including Chinese-language shopping guides (preferred by 83% of travelers) and exclusive offers. To attract Chinese tourists, local businesses should consider adapting to Chinese mobile payment methods and providing customized, value-added services aligned with their preferences.

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