The demographics of Chinese tourists to Australia

In a previous post, we discussed who “Chinese” tourists are, in the context of understanding the difference between mainland China and Greater China (which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan), and the regional distinctions among Chinese tourists (such as the differences between those from Beijing and Shanghai). However, it is equally important to understand the demographics of Chinese tourists to Australia, including details such as genders, age break-downs, income levels, marital status, employment status and occupations. Fortunately, Tourism Australia’s Consumer Demand Project provides the answers to all of these questions.


51% of Chinese tourists to Australia are female, and 49% male. This is in line with global statistics for Chinese outbound travelers, which indicate that female tourists slightly outnumber male tourists.1


The largest age bracket for Chinese tourists was the 25-34 group, representing 34% of all tourists. 27% of tourists were aged 34-44, while the 45-54 demographic accounted for a further 19%. Tourists under 24 years of age represent 13% of all Chinese travelers to Australia.


Importantly, almost 50% of Chinese tourists in Australia are aged 35 or less, and this demographic is only set to grow as China’s young, upper middle class consumers continue to travel further abroad. Recent research from Goldman Sachs has shown that of the 120 million trips abroad by Chinese in 2015, two-thirds were made by people aged under 35.2  It is likely that most of these trips were to short-haul destinations such as Japan, Korea and South East Asia, however Australia is widely forecast to be a future hot spot for the under 35 market.

Employment status, occupation and income

Approximately 88% of Chinese visitors to Australia are working full time, while a further 5% are full time students or retired. Almost half (48%) of Chinese tourists to Australia are professionals, with 27% being managers and an additional 13% being clerical or admin staff. Only 6% of Chinese that come to Australia list their occupation as a labourer or work in trade.

The most common income bracket for respondents to the survey conducted by Tourism Australia was an annual income of between ¥100,000-¥149,999 (approx A$20,650-A$31,000), with 20% of respondents falling within that bracket. Incomes of between ¥150,000-¥199,000 (A$31,001-A$41,275) and ¥250,000-¥299,999 (A$51,600-A$62,000) were both represented by 17% of respondents. A further 15% of respondents had incomes between ¥200,000 and ¥249,999 (A$41,276-A$51,585).


Therefore, approximately 45% of Chinese tourists coming to Australia are members of the upper middle class, with incomes between ¥106,000 (A$22,000) and ¥229,000 (A$47,500). This demographic is forecast to expand from 14% of Chinese households in 2012 to 54% of Chinese households by 2022.3 In other words, the number of upper middle class households is set to boom from 36 million households to 193 million households in the space of 10 years – and you can bet they have Australia on their wishlist of travel destinations!

Living situation

Chinese outbound tourists prefer to travel as a family,4 and the statistics for arrivals to Australia reflect this, with 63% of respondents indicating in the latest survey that they were travelling with their partner and children. A further 15% indicated that they were parents, and 14% of respondents had a partner but no children. Only 5% of respondents indicated they were single or a single parent.


Based on these results, we can start to get a picture of the average Chinese tourist coming to Australia. They are almost certainly full-time white-collar workers, in a professional or managerial position and on at least an upper middle class salary. Most will be in their 30s or 40s, however Australia is increasingly seeing more Chinese tourists in their 20s. Importantly, they are not travelling alone, with most likely their children in tow, and possibly even their grandparents.

Is your tourism business ready for to cater to these upper middle class and affluent Chinese families? Do you have everything in place to welcome them and ensure they have a great stay in Australia? Contact China Ready Now to find out how we can help you improve!


1. Market Research Report on Chinese Outbound Tourist (City) Consumption 2015, World Tourism Cities Federation.
2. The Chinese Tourist Boom, Goldman Sachs, November 2015.
3. Mapping China’s Middle Class, McKinsey&Company, 2013.
4. Market Research Report on Chinese Outbound Tourist (City) Consumption 2015.

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