Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba

0 min read

Introduction to the Chinese market

China has a population of 1.4 billion; the largest in the world, with growing and young, middle and affluent classes.  It is the most valuable market for international tourism expenditure, spending over US$277bn abroad in 2018. Chinese visits abroad have more than tripled in 10 years; from almost 27m overnight stays in 2008, to 100m in 2018.

The growth rate of outbound visits has slowed in recent years, but they are still forecast to exceed 160m trips overseas by 2028. Hong Kong and Macao are usually the most visited destinations by Chinese travellers. However, more people are now venturing further away and in 2018 the USA, France, Germany, Australia and the UAE remained the most popular destinations outside of Asia for Chinese visitors.

China’s significance to the Scottish tourism economy continues to grow and in 2018, the country was Scotland’s 12th largest market for international inbound tourism expenditure.  Chinese visitors have a positive opinion of Scotland and research suggests 87% of visitors would return to Scotland because of our beautiful landscapes and natural scenery. Cultural attractions and natural beauty also feature in the most common reasons why Chinese leisure travellers visit Scotland.

Welcoming our Chinese visitors

A number of Scottish businesses are already benefiting from working with the China market. Watch the videos about their China-ready journey.

China insights

In 2019, we conducted consumer research which explores Chinese holidaymakers' aspiration, motivations, planning and booking behaviour related to overseas leisure trips, as well as their perceptions of Scotland. 

For more details of our research and insights into the Chinese market, see our dedicated page on visitors from China

Research snapshot


of vistiors said they would like to return to Scotland in the next two years


Scotland is part of a wider UK trip for most visitors


Most popular destinations are Edinburgh, Glasgow, The Highlands and The Loch Lomond area


of holidaymakers are seeking quality time in natural beauty

Are you China ready?

Where do I start?

Here are a few steps to start building up your knowledge of the Chinese market to Scotland.

  1. 1


    Watch our China market overview and travel trade  webinars to get more information and insights into Chinese visitors to Scotland.

  2. 2

    Contact us

    Get in touch with your Industry Relationship Manager for personalised advice and support on accessing the international markets. 

  3. 3

    Quality expectations

    Chinese visitors are looking for high quality experiences in all aspects of their stay.  The majority of visitors stay in high quality properties offering excellent standards of hospitality and service. When visiting attractions, the focus is on gaining an authentic experience.  See how our Quality Assurance Schemes can help to support your business.

  4. 4

    Get involved

    Look for opportunities to get involved in our travel trade events such as VisitScotland Expo and our Business Development Missions to China. 

Contact our team

Please contact our China team who can help you with any queries. 

Cultural advice for businesses

The following organisations offer translation and cultural advice to businesses.

Related links