As the world slowly awakens from the slumber induced by Covid-19, first in the Caribbean, then the Americas and now across Europe, all eyes are on China and its plans to resume the outbound travel. China was previously the world’s largest outbound tourism market.
NB: This is an article from ForwardKeys
The total number of outbound trips grew steadily from 57.4 million in 2010 to 169 million in 2019. China was also one of the largest contributors to the global tourism industry by expenditure. In 2019, Chinese tourists spent about 255 billion U.S. dollars while travelling abroad.
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According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s five-year plan, which was published in January 2022, international flights will gradually resume between 2023 and 2025. But, with rumours circulating that China could start a slow reopening as early as this summer, we couldn’t help to wonder “what if China re-opens, what will Chinese tourists look like in the post-pandemic?”
Will the same international destinations entice Chinese travellers as before?
In 2019, mature long-haul destinations captured a great share of Chinese outbound travel outside Asia. According to ForwardKeys data, those destinations included and was led by Europe (51% share of all trips outside Asia), the US (17%) and Australia (9%).
Popular destination cities in Europe, Australia and the USA included Paris, Los Angeles, Moscow, London, Sydney, Rome, New York, Frankfurt, Melbourne, and San Francisco, with London (+9%) and Moscow (+5%) showing the largest increases.
Digging deeper into the ForwardKeys data, the typical traveller profile to Paris, Moscow, Frankfurt, and Rome (European destinations) was groups whereas to London and the US destinations it was a different traveller – solo/business, while more family-sized groups travelled to Australia (than to any European or US destinations).
Pre-pandemic, trips to other Asian destinations accounted for most of the outbound trips. Thailand, Japan, and South Korea were the top destinations of choice for Chinese travellers.
Within that trio, Japan did very well in improving its market share, from 10% in 2014 to 23% in 2019. Thailand continued to be the top destination with a 24% market share in 2019. South Korea’s had a 9% market share in 2019.
With all three mentioned destinations looking to reopen for business this year, could we see a reshuffle take place if Chinese travellers are allowed to travel internationally again?