As the world learns to live with Covid-19, all eyes are on China, the world’s largest outbound tourism market, and its plans to reopen the door to overseas travel.
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, everyone wonders, “What if China reopens? What will Chinese tourists look like post-pandemic?”
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%).
“Sports tourism is a trend to consider. Greatly encouraged by publicity surrounding the Winter Olympics in Beijing this year, we see the strongly growing enthusiasm for travel to snowy ski destinations in the Northeastern part of China. When outbound travel resumes, I think there could be more customised trips to famous winter destinations worldwide,” says China Market Expert Nancy Dai.
The big what if China reopens questions holds a lot of promise and anticipation for many businesses and destinations dependant on the Chinese shopping dollar. The experts at ForwardKeys feel confident that the recovery will be swift, as the recovery of domestic tourism has demonstrated. The thirst to travel and spend exists, but the focus has shifted to more personalised experiences over group tours.
According to China’s 14th five-year plan (2021-2025), the basic goals of tourism development are the tourism industry’s upgrading, including high-quality tourism services, innovative tourism formats and different experiences.
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