The current travails of the world’s oldest package holiday group, founded in 1841, highlight a theme which is favoured by a number of managers of emerging market and Asian equity funds – the Chinese tourist.
The ailing company is in discussions with its largest shareholder, a major Chinese travel company, for the latter to inject cash and take control.
In the year 2000 a modest 10.5m overseas trips were made by Chinese residents. By the end of 2018 that figure was 149.72m – an astonishing increase of 1,326 per cent. In less than two decades Chinese people have become the world’s most numerous international tourists.
Now consider this: just 9 per cent of Chinese citizens – or 120 million people – possess a passport, compared to around 40 per cent of Americans, and 76 per cent of Britons. Moreover, as of 2 July 2019, Chinese citizens only had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 70 countries and territories according to the Henley Passport Index.
And they are not just visiting Paris to buy branded handbags!