Lunar New Year travel to Europe made a 180-degree turn from last year, with travel spending and visits down in key Chinese tourist destinations. This according to Global Blue, perhaps the biggest player in European tax refund, which has monitored Lunar New Year spending in Europe in recent years.
In 2017, Global Blue recorded a staggering 36 percent increase in Chinese travel spending during the Lunar New Year holiday, a significant jump from the year before, when spending in Europe during January-February was down 8 percent year-over-year—in part likely due to hesitance over the worsening security situation in Europe at the time.
Figures for 2018 look particularly bad next to the stellar figures for 2017, but still present some worrisome news for tourism stakeholders in Europe, and particularly so in tourism powerhouses like France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. According to Global Blue, negative growth in the double-digits was recorded in both Germany and the United Kingdom at 21 percent and 23 percent respectively. In France, sales during the Lunar New Year were down 7 percent.