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Downturn fails to dent Chinese enthusiasm for European travel

A five-month survey in China has found, despite the global financial crisis, 56.6 percent of the surveyed are maintaining plans for trips to Europe during the next two years.

France, Italy, Switzerland, Greece and Britain are the top five destinations.

The survey, co-conducted by the Beijing-based K&D Consulting Co. Ltd and a number of European tourism bureaus and travel agencies, covered 14, 391 qualified samples.

About 44.5 percent said the downturn would not have any impact on their Europe-bound tours. Only 25.2 percent expressed concern about the crisis, and would change their plans to visit nearer regions.

The survey also found 74.5 percent of Chinese tourists to Europe chose to stay from one or two weeks, with an average spending of 25,000 yuan (about 3, 659 U.S. dollars), of which 10,000 went for shopping.

According to forecasts by the World Tourism Organization, by 2015 China will become the world's biggest market for in-bound travel, and the fourth largest for outbound.

(Xinhua News Agency September 3, 2009)