The new year got off to a great start following the announcement that China would reopen the mainland's borders ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays.
The move has kick-started the return of mass tourism. The lifting of most COVID-related entry restrictions and the dropping of quarantine requirements for all international arrivals on Jan. 8 marked a significant step forward for the return of global travel. Many Chinese are eager to be reunited with friends and family, and many more will be traveling for business and leisure.
The government also plans to resume accepting visa applications from international tourists, a critical step for beginning the recovery of inbound travel into China.
Investors hope the reopening of borders will reinvigorate China's $17 trillion economy in the months and years to come. Europe and the U.S. have made good progress toward boosting the post-pandemic recovery of the global travel industry already. This year, the Asia-Pacific region aims to pick up the pace.
After a long wait, Chinese mainland citizens are, once again, excited to journey abroad.
According to Ctrip, Trip.com Group's travel service platform in China, searches for outbound flights from mainland China increased 83% for the period between the reopening announcement on Dec. 26 and Jan. 5 compared with the two previous weeks, reaching a three-year peak. Outbound flight bookings rose 59% over the same period.
Overseas destinations are welcoming the first wave of returning Chinese tourists over the Lunar New Year holidays. Trip.com Group data shows the top 10 outbound destinations for the holiday period have been Australia, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the U.S., Singapore, the U.K., Macao and Indonesia.
This data underscores consumer eagerness for outbound travel to quickly resume from China’s mainland.
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