TRAVEL International tourism market gets boost from Chinese tourists


International tourism market gets boost from Chinese tourists


16:27, April 29, 2023

China's Labor Day holiday, observed from April 29 to May 3 this year, is witnessing a strong rebound in both domestic and overseas tourism.

Beijing Daxing International Airport is expected to witness 615,000 trips during the Labor Day Holiday in 2023, Beijing, China. (Photo: CMG)

The tourism market of this Labor Day holiday will be the best since 2020, marking a turning point for the market's recovery and the industry's revitalization after China started managing COVID-19 with measures against Class B infectious diseases, Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy, told China Media Group (CMG).

Chinese tourists made up an important part of the global tourism market, having spent about $260 billion yearly on average while traveling abroad from 2015 to 2019, data from the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations indicated.

Boost for international tourism market

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of China's monthly average outbound passengers dropped by 95 percent from 12 million in 2019, said Steve Saxon, a Shenzhen-based partner of management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, CNN reported. This change chopped more than half of the money spent abroad by Chinese tourists, compared with previous years.

But this Labor Day holiday, the first one since China resumed outbound group tours in February, is heating up tourism in many countries.

The searches for outbound flight tickets and overseas hotels for this holiday period have recovered to 120 percent and 70 percent of that in the same period in 2019, respectively, according to a report by Minsheng Securities.

Southeast Asian countries, Japan, South Korea, and some regional markets like China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, make up 66 percent of the destinations, the report said, adding that the outbound traveling pick-up is due to preferential policies, convenient visa applications and relatively short distance.

The strong demand has injected impetus into the outbound tourism market, said Liu Wenzheng, chief analyst at Minsheng Securities.

In February, ASEAN countries welcomed the return of Chinese tourists at the ASEAN Tourism Forum.

Thailand has long been one of the most popular destinations among Chinese tourists. Tourism is one of the pillars of the Thai economy, accounting for about one-fifth of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). In 2019, Thailand received about 40 million international tourists and one-third of them were from China.

Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, expects that the tourism industry in ASEAN countries will recover strongly with the return of outbound travel from China.

Domestic travel booming

About 120 million trips by railway are expected from April 27 to May 4, marking a new record on a year-on-year basis, according to China Railway. The company expected 19.5 million trips by 11,873 trains on the peak day of April 29.

Airports in Shanghai have also seen an uptick in traffic since Friday. Pudong and Hongqiao international airports are expected to operate 8,844 flights and host 1.46 million trips during the five-day holiday, the number of flights and passenger flows at the two airports recovered to 84 percent and 87 percent of that in the same period in 2019, respectively, CMG reported on Friday.

Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy, said short- or medium-distance family trips and leisure trips to rural areas and more niche destinations will be the major traveling pattern for the five-day holiday.

More than 240 million trips are expected during the holiday, he said, adding that the travel boom-driven consumption is estimated to contribute more than 120 billion yuan (about $17.36 billion) in tourism revenue.

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