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China’s outbound travel sees fast rebound after resumption of cross-border group tours

China’s outbound travel has seen a rapid rebound in the month since the country resumed cross-border group tours on February 6, with more passenger trips and increased flight capacity. Also, more destination countries are welcoming the return of Chinese tourists, an important driver of their economic recovery.

Significant increase has been seen in the number of outbound passenger flights. According to data sent to the Global Times by VariFlight, a data information provider, the weekly number of outbound flights increased to over 1,700 passenger trips from February 27 to March 5, a rise of nearly 30 percent compared to the first week of cross-border group resumption. 

Asian countries and regions are among the most popular tourist destinations, taking more than 80 percent of the growth, with Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia ranking as the top three destinations in terms of   outbound passenger trips from the Chinese mainland.

Trips to Thailand from the Chinese mainland have seen the most significant rise, with more than 100 percent growth or up to 30 passenger trips being made on a daily basis over the past month.  

This came as the first batch of Chinese tourists was warmly welcomed by the Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and other senior officials upon their arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport on January 9. It shows the importance that the Thai government attaches to Chinese tourists.

After China’s resumption of pilot outbound group tours to a total of 20 countries, including Thailand, starting from February 6, ending nearly three years of suspension, the Thai government officials expected to welcome more than 500-700 million Chinese tourists in 2023, which would be a recovery to around 64 percent of the pre-epidemic level in 2019, the Global Times learned from the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

According to VariFlight, the most popular place for the tourists of the Chinese mainland to do outbound trip is Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). So far, the daily number of flights from the mainland to the SAR has increased to around 40 passenger trips.  

Yang Jinsong, a senior expert with the China Tourism Academy, told the Global Times on Monday that the high growth in passenger trips as well as the numbers of flights to other countries and regions are within expectations, as consumption has picked up after the downgraded epidemic response.

While there would be a spillover of the rebound in the coming months, Yang said that fluctuating flight rates and inadequate flight capacity may hinder the full unleash of the consumption rebound in the short term.

Despite the lingering challenges, China’s resumption of outbound group tours could bring more than $200 billion back to international tourism, some foreign media said.

Xu Xiaolei, marketing manager at China’s CYTS Tours Holding Co, told the Global Times in a previous interview that “we expect China to  resume group tour services for more countries by the end of the first quarter or the beginning of the second quarter, in preparation for the traditional ‘travel golden period’ starting from May.”

Source : Global Times