Why Chinese tourists want to travel to Spain? (2024 update)

Chinese tourists are increasingly attracted to Spain for several compelling reasons:

  1. Cultural Richness: Spain offers a wealth of cultural experiences, from its historic sites and architecture to vibrant local festivals. The blend of cultures over the centuries makes Spain particularly fascinating for tourists interested in history and the arts.
  2. Scenic Beauty and Hot weather: The country’s diverse landscapes, from beautiful coastlines to rugged mountains, combined with a pleasant climate, make it an attractive destination for Chinese tourists who appreciate outdoor activities and natural beauty.
  3. Gastronomy: Spain is renowned for its diverse and flavorful cuisine, which includes famous dishes like paella and tapas. The culinary experience is often a major draw for Chinese visitors looking for new gastronomic delights.
  4. Shopping Opportunities: Spain is a popular destination for shopping, especially in cities like Barcelona and Madrid, where tourists can explore everything from high-end fashion boutiques to unique local crafts.
  5. Ease of Access and Visa Policies: Spain has worked to facilitate easier access for Chinese tourists, including visa simplifications and direct flights. These logistical improvements make Spain a convenient destination for Chinese travelers.

These factors combine to make Spain a highly desirable destination for Chinese tourists, offering a rich mix of historical, cultural, and leisure activities. The increasing popularity of Spain among Chinese travelers is supported by targeted marketing efforts and the adaptation of services to cater to Chinese preferences, enhancing the overall visitor experience.


The Asian giant has become the most important source of tourists worldwide.

5 key facts about Chinese tourists in Spain:

Rapid Growth in Numbers: The number of Chinese tourists visiting Spain saw a significant increase, with a reported 420% rise in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in previous years​  


High Spending: Chinese tourists are among the highest spenders in Spain, typically outspending tourists from other countries, which significantly contributes to the local economy​ 

Focus on Cultural and Historical Sites: Chinese visitors show a keen interest in Spain’s rich cultural and historical heritage, often visiting famous landmarks such as the Alhambra in Granada and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Preference for Luxury Shopping: There is a strong preference for luxury shopping among Chinese tourists in Spain, with many drawn to high-end brands and products, particularly in cities like Madrid and Barcelona​  

Impact of Direct Flights: The introduction of direct flights between China and Spain has made travel easier and more accessible, thus increasing the influx of tourists from China to Spain​


Culture, gastronomy and a good climate are the three main reasons why Spain is one of the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists.

In 2019 China outbound represented $257.7 billion in spending and an estimated 365 billion by 2025.

From all these Chinese travelers, only 0.24% (230.000) go to Spain. However, in 2013 Spain the number of Chinese tourists increased by 33% compared to 2012.

In 2018, Spain has been visited by 649,032 Chinese tourists. A 128% increase over the last three years. However, it only represents 0.8% of all the tourists Spain received that year.  Looking at the growing figure we can only see the potential.

The Chinese who travel to Spain are usually from the upper-middle-class and stay longer there than in any other European country, with an average of over eleven days.

Chinese Tourists in Barcelona

In a strategic move to cater to the influx of Chinese tourists, Barcelona’s retail scene is embracing innovation by integrating popular Asian digital payment methods, WeChat Pay and Alipay.

This initiative, a collaboration between the Barcelona Commerce retailers’ association and Starpay, now enables Chinese visitors to enjoy the seamless shopping experience they are accustomed to back home, right in the heart of one of Spain’s most visited cities.

Over 80 select boutiques and stores across Barcelona, including notable spots like El Petit Gaudi Eixample, a charming gift shop known for its handcrafted items, now proudly display WeChat and Alipay.

This visual endorsement not only draws in Chinese shoppers but also instills a sense of familiarity and comfort, encouraging them to explore and purchase with ease.

Alfons Barti, director of the Barcelona Commerce retailers’ association, emphasizes that the goal is to align the local retail offerings with the digital conveniences that Chinese consumers heavily rely on. This approach not only simplifies transactions but also enriches the shopping journey for every visitor.

Store managers across Barcelona have noted positive feedback from Chinese customers, who find the integration of WeChat Pay and Alipay particularly convenient. This familiarity with payment methods removes barriers, making shopping in smaller, independent stores as straightforward as in larger retail outlets.

This pioneering initiative in Barcelona paves the way for similar enhancements across Spain, with plans already underway to expand these convenient payment solutions to Madrid. As the first of its kind in Spain, this program sets a new standard in accommodating the growing Chinese tourist market, ensuring they can shop, explore, and experience Spanish culture with comfort and ease


Let’s see together why Chinese tourists like to go to Spain:


Generally, Chinese tourist don’t go to Europe looking for sun and beaches. They value the Spanish history because they consider that Spain has a long and very traditional history.

toChinese tourists are very impressed by the flamenco and bullfighting and they consider them to be the most representative Spanish activities

Spanish museums are popular:

Chinese travelers like castles, palaces and parks and they love visiting museums. They are very interested in seeing masterpieces of well-known painters like Picasso, Gaudi, Dali, Velázquez, Goya.

Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is the most popular city regarding Spanish architecture and art. “La Sagrada Familia”, a large Roman Catholic church and Gaudi’s works are some of the most impressive cultural attractions in Spain.


The Chinese tourist is the biggest spender, especially in luxury brands. About 82 % of Chinese tourists consider shopping as one of the main activities when they are traveling and they usually buy international luxury brands because in Spain they are 30% cheaper than in China.

According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), Chinese visitors spent outside its borders over 100.000 million dollars last year. Cataluña and Madrid are their favorite destinations in Spain and they spent around 2040 dollars on average per capita.


The food is an important part of the Spanish culture, that is the reason why Chinese tourists are very curious about Spanish food. Paella is the most successful dish and also the most representative of Spanish cuisine. Usually, Chinese tourists love paella because is similar to their eating habits. In addition, they are very interested in Spanish wines due to their high quality.

paella grande_2

However, there is a lot of potential that is still untapped to increase the appeal of Spain.

Chinese tourist have very specific needs :

  • They want staff that can speak Mandarin Chinese
  • Hotels they may want to have a kettle for boiling hot water for tea
  • Chinese are tech-savvy, and like to share their travel experience in real-time. Wifi is crucial here.
  • Shops and hotels should have the ability to use Union Pay because most do not use international credit cards

To increase the appeal of Spain to Chinese tourists you must show it as a premium destination.

Chinese travel forum

  • Tuniu
  • Mafengwo
  • Qyer




Chinese tourists will go to forums and online communities such as Tuniu where there will look up information according to what kind of trip they want. There they will find reviews and advice about everything related to traveling.

Chinese tourists trust other reviews very much. Indeed they heavily rely on other people’s experience to see what destinations are the best, therefore you must make sure that they will only see good reviews about Spain and your tourism company services related to Spain by posting good reviews.



Is the trip advisor of China. People talk about their experiences while traveling, you can review places, hotels, restaurants.You can find detailed guide on a destination, itinerary, etc

The app features forums and lively q&a.

It is also an OTA: You can book transports, hotels, tickets, etc. You’ll have access to more than 60 000 services all around the globe.

it is also a shopping mall, online e-commerce platform that focused on travel essential items.

With so many tools the platform has become a sort of traveler bible and is a powerful place to run marketing campaigns focused on content sharing. The best way is to have both an official company account and multiple accounts to go undercover and influence the chat feed, drive chat around your establishment, agency… and create a community around your services.

The bonus? Content on this kind of platform tends to rank quite high on Baidu.


Q&A : Qyer

Qyer is similar to Mafengwo in terms of content with a forum and Q&A. It was launched in 2004 and has become a to-go place when researching a destination, hotels, restaurants, etc.  Over time, like Mafengwo is had developed its own eCommerce and trip-planning tools.


Q&A and Encyclopedia

Once they’ve had their first information about what country is the best to go to, ideally Spain, they will look up an encyclopedia such as.

Baidu Baike will provide them with trustworthy information about the country, it gives them the same feeling as Wikipedia does in Western countries. You must have entries to show how Spain is a great place to go to.

Baidu Zhidao: this is where Chinese outbound tourists will go and ask and answer questions about a given destination. It is very similar to Yahoo! Q&A. There must be a presence to ensure that each question asked about Spain is answered in a very positive manner

E-tourism platforms


70% of the bookings in Chinese outbound tourism is done on e-tourism platforms such as Ctrip, Elong. To be visible and attract Chinese tourists in Spain, your services and tours must be visible there

Ctrip is the biggest Chinese OTA. And BTW, we can help you with your registration: more info here

Not only Ctrip is a great OTA platform but you can advertise with varied tools such as banners ads and featured posts in different sections of the app. Ctrip also featured Kols. Kols should be taken seriously when doing business in China. They are trusted by their pair a lot more than official resources.

The app has over 10 million POT (point of interest) and targets users on their other apps with DSP (demand-side platform) to help them discovers more POT after they leave the app.


Kols in the tourism industry

Working hand in hand with Kols can help you boost your sales. Why? Kols (key opinion leaders) have the trust of their followers. They know how to maximize engagement and how to create the buzz.

Not only by working with a Kol you’ll get more visibility but also you’ll be associated with this Kol and this Kol credibility. Chinese do not get a lot of vacations. When they decide to go somewhere, they want to make sure it will be a great memorable trip but for the good reason.

Choosing a Kols can be complicated when you don’t know the market, the apps, the prices, and the language. We strongly suggest you hire specialists, the Kols market in China is filled with scammers that take advantage of the naivety of foreign entity.

Mafengwo Kols do not necessarily have a lot of followers however their post can get a lot of views and share and recommendation. Of course, there are super-stars Kols and one might be tempted to hire them but with a superstars Kols that already works with many brands, you take the risk of losing the authenticity feeling that you have with smaller, more “genuine” micro-influencers.

Further information about the destination

They will look up more precise information using keywords pertaining to what they learn from previous sources.

Doing an SEO campaign will allow you to increase destination awareness for Chinese tourists. They will think: if a destination ranks well on Baidu it must be a good one.

Video content : Douyin 

Use of Douyin for tourism, especially relevant for engaging potential tourists through video calls and content distribution:

10 Facts About Douyin for Tourism

  1. Massive User Base: Douyin, the Chinese counterpart of TikTok, boasts over 600 million daily active users, offering a vast audience for tourism marketing.

  2. Youth Appeal: Primarily popular among the younger demographic, Douyin is an ideal platform for targeting millennials and Gen Z, who are increasingly influential in travel decisions.

  3. High Engagement Rates: Videos on #Douyin typically see high engagement rates due to the platform’s algorithm, which prioritizes content discovery based on user behavior.

  4. Localization Features: Douyin supports location-based marketing, allowing businesses to target users based on their geographical proximity to attractions, hotels, and restaurants.

  5. Rich Media Formats: Beyond simple videos, Douyin supports a variety of content formats including livestreaming, which can be used for real-time engagement with potential tourists.

  6. E-commerce Integration: Douyin has integrated e-commerce capabilities, making it possible for users to book tours and experiences directly through the app.

  7. KOL Collaborations: Collaborating with Douyin influencers can amplify reach and credibility, as influencers often have dedicated followers who trust their recommendations.

  8. User-Generated Content: Encouraging tourists to share their experiences on Douyin can provide authentic testimonials and wider organic reach.

  9. Cultural Relevance: Content that highlights unique cultural aspects and experiences of destinations tends to perform better, resonating more with viewers seeking genuine experiences.

  10. Native Ads: Douyin provides great ads, robust analytics tools, helping marketers track engagement and refine strategies based on performance data.

Marketing Tips for Douyin

  1. Create Visually Appealing Content: Invest in high-quality video production that highlights the most attractive features of your destination or service.

  2. Utilize Hashtags: Make use of popular and relevant hashtags to increase the visibility of your content in searches.

  3. Engage with Viewers: Actively engage with comments and questions on your posts to build a community and encourage further interaction.

  4. Post Regularly: Consistency is key on Douyin. Regular posting helps maintain visibility and engagement with your audience.

  5. Leverage AR Features: Use Douyin’s augmented reality filters and effects to create fun and interactive content that encourages users to participate and share.

  6. Run Contests and Giveaways: Engage users by organizing contests and giveaways that encourage them to visit and promote your destination or service.

  7. Feature Real-Time Content: Use livestreaming features to showcase destinations live, providing potential tourists with a real-time look at what they can expect.

  8. Highlight Local Experiences: Create content that showcases unique local experiences that are not easily found elsewhere to attract interest.

  9. Tailor Content for Seasons: Adapt your content strategy based on the season, highlighting the best each time of year has to offer.

  10. Monitor Trends: Stay up-to-date with the latest trends on Douyin to keep your content relevant and engaging.

By strategically leveraging Douyin’s powerful platform, tourism businesses can effectively capture the attention of a vast audience, turning viewers into visitors through engaging and interactive content.


After this, they will try to have a more precise image of where they want to go through magazines, blogs, news but most importantly videos like on Youku, the Chinese Youtube. Having a presentation video highlighting the strengths of Spain will raise the destination image in their mind.

During the trip: Social media, photo sharing


Chinese tourists love to share their experience in real time through the use of social media, like Wechat, Weibo,.

Making sure to leave a good impression is a must here since their user experience spreads like wildfire, especially if they did not have a good experience. Again, with community management, you can ensure that a very good impression of your company is all that tourists can see.

At the end of their trip they will show all their pictures to their friends and leave reviews and comments to let them know about the destination, what they lived and the places they liked most.

Conclusion :

Chinese outbound tourists are hyper connected, a digital marketing strategy using those services is required in order to fully exploit Spain’s great potential as a premium tourist destination for Chinese outbound tourism.

Chinese tourist Spain

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  3. Europe is not as tech-savy as China is. There is a general “mistrust” about technology in latin country such as Sapin, Portugal, Italy and France. Could it be what is attracting Chinese tourists there or it is a prejudice for these countries when compare to Thailand for instance that has fully adopted mobile paiment wechat/alipay, have mandarin speaking staff, services just for Chinese?

    You don’t see this as much in Europe. Sure Lafayette now is using alipay but that is a needle in the straw.

    I guess my question is do chinese looking look for a “genuine” experience including the struggle of using cash/not speaking the language/not having all their habits tended to or are looking for a travel where they have all the convienence of home, their habits not disturbs in a different landscape?

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