Chinese outbound tourism is complex, understanding the differences between China’s markets is vital

More than three billion Chinese people are estimated to travel domestically and more than 100 million travel internationally every year. The UNWTO estimates in 2016, Chinese international visitors spent US$236 billion whilst overseas.

Our researchers have conducted a range of projects on Chinese tourism, working closely with colleagues in China. Joint projects investigate Chinese outbound tourism, perceptions of China as a travel destination, development of sustainable tourism in China and consumer behaviour of the Chinese traveller.

China Summer Tourism Summit

The China Summer Tourism Summit in Jilin Province, China features a symposium on Sustainable Tourism and Climate Change.The symposium brings together global experts to share insights and discuss progress on how tourism adapts to climate change, reduces emissions and moves towards decarbonisation, integrates tourism growth with sustainable development, and understands new opportunities for developing destinations that are climate resilient and sustainable. The meeting is also an important milestone for a larger global conference on climate change and tourism to be held in 2019 in China. The international day is organised with support from the Griffith Institute for Tourism, Australia.

Areas of expertise

  • Chinese exhibition and conference markets
  • Service quality experiences and satisfaction of Chinese visitors to Australia
  • Outbound expectations of tourists
  • Protected Area management in China
  • Potential for adventure and ecotourism
  • Soft power, travel and the Chinese Dream
  • Environmental perceptions and sustainable tourism
  • Carbon footprinting of tourism in China
  • Hotel and restaurant management
  • Chinese use of travel technologies
  • Product innovation and use of social media in marketing


GIFT works in close partnership with the Griffith Tourism Confucius Institute, Griffith Asia Institute and several Chinese partner organisations, including:

  • Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai
  • Beijing International Studies University
  • Jiao tong University, Beijing
  • Beijing Union University and the editorial team of Tourism Tribune
  • Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
  • Chinese Tourism Academy
  • Oklahoma State University, USA
  • Foreign Expert Scheme – Hunan Normal University, Changsha.

Recent projects

Dispersal of Chinese Visitors in Queensland

Tourist dispersal is responsible for the distribution of tourism revenue and promotes exposure of regional centres that are outside the major gateways. Research specific to tourist dispersal in Queensland is still under-developed, especially regarding the Chinese market, one of the fastest growing international
markets in Australia. Based on 819 surveys carried out with overseas passengers at Brisbane Airport, this paper aims to identify the overall travel dispersal patterns of international visitors in Queensland and identify the differences between the Chinese market and other international tourist markets in Queensland.

Analysis of Study Gold Coast's China to Gold Coast Social Media Campaign

Social media marketing has become one of the key ways to engage with consumers. In October 2015, Study Gold Coast launched Australia’s first international student social media competition in China through the social media platforms of Weibo and WeChat. Chinese participants were encouraged enter a competition to win a two week Gold Coast education tourism experience. The campaign gained more than 10,000 followers on social media and attracted over 1,500 competition entries. Overall, almost 47 million Chinese were exposed to the Gold Coast through this competition.

Perceptions of air pollution in China (in partnership with Shanghai Normal University)

Air pollution is an increasingly pressing issue in China and affects its attractiveness as a tourist destination. A survey of 600 US and Australian residents found that potential travellers expressed negative feelings about air pollution, which eroded destination image as well as intention to visit.

The Chinese Dream Conference Series

The First East West Dialogue on Tourism and the Chinese Dream coincided with the opening of the G20 summit in Brisbane, and highlighted the role that tourism and travel can play in realising the Chinese Dream.

The Second East West Dialogue on Tourism and the Chinese Dream was held in Shanghai, China, in conjunction with partner, Shanghai Normal University. The conference examined sustainable tourism and environmental management, as well as recent changes in the Chinese national park system.

The Third East West Dialogue on Tourism and the Chinese Dream was held in Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast 23–25 November 2017. The conference was important for two reasons. Firstly, the United Nations declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Developmen, and secondly, 2017 was the China-Australia Year of Tourism, celebrating the close relationship between China and Australia, and recognising the importance of the China market for Australia's tourism economy.


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