Now, China is opening up, where the Chinese travellers want to go?
Pre-pandemic, Chinese tourism was the largest source of international travellers in the world. It’s 155 million tourists spent over $250 billion globally in 2019.
After 3 dormant years, as the Chinese government has removed quarantine entry requirements from 8th Jan, millions of Chinese tourists are getting ready to return to the world, inspiring hopes of a rebound in the global tourism industry.
As soon as the announcement, searches by Chinese prospective travellers for international travel grew by over 1000%. Trip.com, one of the largest Chinese online travel agencies, recently reported that bookings for the upcoming Chinese lunar New Year holiday, between January 21 and January 27, have increased 540% from a year ago, with average spending per booking jumping 32%.
The most popular destinations so far are Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand, based on Trip.com Group bookings. For long-haul destinations, the US, UK and Australia lead the pack.
Business trips, family reunions, studying abroad and well-being trips will be the first bunch of global Chinese travellers. As consumer confidence builds through the first quarter, leisure travel will quickly follow, and by then international flights will be increased and almost resume to the pre-pandemic frequency, passport renewal and visa application rush will be gradually calmed down. Some leisure travellers will be motivated to plan their international trips immediately, while others would wait and hear the travel experiences from these “pioneers” bring back home first.
However, for those experienced Chinese travellers, they have a very different preference of destination choice. They desire to explore less-trodden destinations like Pakistan, Iran, Serbia, Cyprus, Albania, Oman, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Madagascar and Namibia in 2023. Many of them are longing for South American countries too, but until the flight cost normalised, they would choose a destination relatively closer to home.