CTC News

New China ski study offers insights into rapidly growing market.

CTC teams up with provincial partners in BC and Alberta to uncover what potential Chinese skiers have for Canada travel.

21 May 2012

Swoosh! China is the third-largest and fastest-growing outbound tourism market in the world. With many of this new generation of sophisticated and independent Chinese travellers having an appetite for skiing, the research team of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) partnered with Tourism British Columbia and Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation to analyze this travel trend.

The 2012 China Ski Study offers insights into the potential of China’s ski market for Canada. The results came from two study phases: desk research and in-person interviews conducted in China.

Some key findings:

  • The Chinese ski industry has undergone astonishing growth, fuelled by a strong economy, buoyant personal wealth and a love of luxury among Chinese consumers. According to the China Ski Association, the number of skiers has rocketed from around 10,000 in 1996 to five million (give or take a slalom) in 2010. In 1980, there were only three ski resorts in China; in 2012, that total has leapt to 70.
  • However, this market remains in its infancy, with the majority of piste-lovers still at beginner level.
  • Chinese skiers who like to travel fit the profile of long-haul leisure travellers: highly educated and in a higher income bracket. Their ideal notion of a long-haul ski vacation is set at a reliable facility with good snow conditions and magnificent scenery plus an affordable price tag (which all sounds very Canadian).
  • Chinese travellers see skiing or snowboarding as part of an overall vacation package, not the be-all-and-end-all. Sampling local flavours, city trips and other winter activities are all key parts of a Chinese ski experience that might only include two days out of 10 on the slopes and multiple destination stops.
  • Word of mouth, travel TV shows, destination websites and travel magazines are the primary sources of knowledge for Chinese skiers. And while travel agents are popular with all skiers, Chinese travellers are also turning to Internet travel suppliers such as Ctrip to book ski trips.
  • Although awareness and interest of Canada as a ski destination is relatively high (Japan and Switzerland take the top two spots), knowledge of specific Canadian destinations is low.
  • The pressures of time commitment, money and other personal reasons, together with a lack of basic overseas ski knowledge, are the biggest inhibitors to Chinese skiers venturing to Canada. Awareness-building will be instrumental for future development.

Read the 2012 China Ski Study in full.


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