As China reopens its borders, where will Chinese tourists go first?

As China reopens its borders, where will Chinese tourists go first?

(CNN) Xiongjie Dai, 32, a freelance software engineer living in Suzhou, China, is looking forward to her first long-term trip since the end of the “Cello Corona” policy.

Day listed South Korea, Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Australia as potential destinations, but he was most interested in the US.

The United States is a world leader in both computer science and the IT industry, so Dai said he would like to visit famous universities such as Silicon Valley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University.

Now that the Chinese government has lifted the mandatory quarantine for overseas tourists and resumed issuing new passports, many Chinese citizens like Dai want to travel abroad.

first destination

Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand are particularly popular destinations for Chinese tourists, judging by bookings from major online travel agency

According to Dr Wolfgang Georg Alter, chief executive of the China Tourism Research Institute (COTRI), it should come as no surprise that easy and cheap local travel will be the first to recover.

But the first quarter of 2023 will be largely limited to urgent non-tourist travel, such as business trips, family reunions, student travel and medical purposes, Alt added.

First wave of leisure travel

Alt said he expects leisure travel to pick up in the second quarter of 2023, when the passport and visa approval process is smooth and flights resume.

With consumer confidence picking up throughout the first quarter, Alt said he expects more Chinese tourists to travel to neighboring countries around April, prioritizing health, recreation and nature.

“Think that many Chinese who are stressed and problematic (due to the new coronavirus) will take long weekend vacations to escape it, or try to kill time at beach resorts in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. No wonder,” Alt said.

Siena Palliscook, director of marketing and communications at digital marketing firm Dragon Trail International, named the Maldives this year’s most popular beach destination for wealthy travelers.

The Maldives is an attractive destination, especially for luxury travelers and those looking for beautiful beach holidays, and may recover from the impact of COVID-19 faster than other tourist destinations in the world, Palriskook said come over.

most attractive destination

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, China was one of the largest international travel markets in the world in terms of outbound arrivals and tourist spending.

According to data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Chinese tourists made a total of 154.6 million outbound trips in 2019, with a tourism consumption of about 255 billion US dollars.

COTRI data predicts that by the end of 2023, Chinese tourists’ outbound travel (including trips to the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau) will recover to 115 million, three-quarters of 2019. Said to be sexual.

If international travel picks up, Palliskook predicts that destinations that were popular before the coronavirus outbreak will return to the top of the popularity charts.

Thailand was the country that received the most Chinese tourists in 2019, with nearly 11 million arrivals, accounting for more than a quarter of all international tourists.

The Indian Ocean island nation of the Maldives is an alluring destination for luxury travelers and those looking for a beautiful beach holiday.

Japan followed with 9.5 million Chinese tourists visiting the country in 2019, according to Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) tourism statistics. This is followed by Vietnam with 5.8 million, South Korea with about 5.5 million and Singapore with 3.6 million.

The popular destinations before the epidemic are likely to become popular destinations again once Chinese outbound travel resumes. Both China Tourism and Dragon Way are optimizing destinations in Hong Kong, Macau, Southeast Asia and East Asia. Palliskook said he thinks this is definitely the first recovery.

“These destinations are the closest to China, have the fastest resumption of flights and are likely to be seen as the most affordable and safest destinations for first international travel post-COVID,” Palriskook said.

New Hotspots and New Experiences

Alter said there has been a recent surge in Chinese tourists’ interest in discovering unusual destinations.

Wendy Ming, Head of Media and Executive Communications at, is a good example.

Min said that before the coronavirus, he was developing new tourist destinations in five countries every year. In 2023, it plans to explore Cyprus, Oman, Iraq, Rwanda, Madagascar and Namibia.

Today, seasoned travelers like Ming want to go off the beaten track.

For example, Alt said he was interested in countries like Albania and Georgia.

Before the pandemic, Albania was only just beginning to attract Chinese tourists. Albania, with its centuries-old villages and authentic rural settings, will appeal to seasoned travelers, Alt said.

Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, on the other hand, is full of urban adventures, downhill skiing, Black Sea beaches, ancient architecture, and more.

“Both countries are still relatively unknown,” Alter said. “Paris is no longer attractive. If you tell your friends you’ve been to Albania, they think you’re someone very special, with a taste for travel and a sense of adventure.”

Changes in travel patterns

Chinese travelers have recently been drawn to small group and individual travel rather than large tours, and they are also concerned about sustainability, according to Group.

In Eastern Europe, Georgia offers experiences such as urban exploration, downhill skiing and beaches.

Mr. Alt has also noticed this trend.

“We’ve seen a huge shift in the needs and expectations of Chinese tourists. There’s a lot of interest,” Alt said, adding.

In a 2010 survey conducted by Dragon Trail, 48.3 percent of those planning future travel responded that they would choose an eco-friendly lodging facility. In addition, 45.5% of the respondents said they would choose a non-cruel way to watch wild animals, and 37.9% of the respondents said they would pick up trash or ride a bicycle instead of a car. environment.

In addition, among the reasons for traveling abroad, “tasting local food” accounted for 60.8%, “experience local life” accounted for 56%, and “going to the beach to see the sea” accounted for 51.8%.

But not everything has changed when it comes to what Chinese tourists want to do while traveling.

“Many of the pre-pandemic trends and preferences in travel to China persisted post-pandemic. For example, the shift from group travel to individual travel,” Palriskook said.

Pallikook also noted that glamping (camping comfortably in nature while using luxurious amenities and services) is a hugely popular activity in China in the COVID-19 era.

“During the pandemic, camping and camping are new ways to get around the region and get in touch with nature, and they have become a big topic on Chinese social media,” Palliskook said.

Also, given the popularity of camping in China, it’s no surprise that Chinese tourists go camping in places like Japan and Thailand.

In fact, operators in Japan and Thailand are promoting glamping to Chinese netizens on Chinese social media.

There is also the need for long-term travel, such as living, studying or pursuing a career abroad, Alt said.

“There are a lot of people going to different places who choose to relocate, such as Singapore, London, Toronto and Sydney. These people will be included (in the first batch of people who resume travel)” (Mr. Otto)

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