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The Chinese outbound tourism continues to recover

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The Chinese outbound tourism continues to recover after a slower than expected start, with only 26 million border crossings in the first half of 2023 compared to 89 million in the first half of 2019, representing less than one third of the pre-pandemic level. For the second half of the year the numbers of trips should reach the 50% level of 2019 with more than 40 million trips.

The latest indicator is the positive feedback from the ITB China in Shanghai last week. Burkhard Kieker, CEO of VisitBerlin, said: “The Chinese people's desire to travel is great after the hardships of the pandemic. This is the summary for us at VisitBerlin at the ITB China in Shanghai.”

He pointed out that long waiting times for a visa is the main reason for the delayed growth of Chinese visitor numbers for Germany.

Online searches for information about outbound travel, especially to new destinations and for new activities have reached levels well above the 2019 numbers. Next week the October Golden Week will bring the next wave of  outbound tourism, a wave eagerly awaited especially in the neighbouring countries.

In this week’s edition of COTRI INTELLIGENCE the Topic of the week is no surprise, as this question is on everybody’s mind: Will the Chinese continue to travel with the same number of trips and spending as before the pandemic or not? Given the many economic problems including the slow-motion crash of the Ponzi schemes in the property market, but also the unexplained disappearances of Chairman Xi during BRICS and G20 summits, some Kasandra cries are getting much attention in the industry. Western politicians including US president Biden and Germany’s foreign minister Baerbock calling Chairman Xi dictator indicate the ongoing souring of relations on the highest level.

Weird regulations like the government proposal to a law that could result in detention and fines for “wearing clothing or bearing symbols in public that are detrimental to the spirit of the Chinese people and hurt the feelings of Chinese people” further help to muddle the water.

The latest rumour heard by COTRI INTELLIGENCE, that the plan to establish Hainan as an alternative to outbound travel could even include horse racing with betting on the island in Hainan, adds yet another layer to the discussion.

The Deep dive consulting text features one of the major new trends which developed during the pandemic in domestic tourism in China and is now also influencing outbound travel: Outdoor activities. Developing new products outside the city and away from the beach will be one way to welcome Chinese visitors without increasing the problem of Overtourism. New destinations and new companies can profit from the new interest in outdoor and adventure activities. However, Chinese visitors will except a high level of comfort and will go for beautiful pictures and videos rather than sweat and sore muscles.

Facts and Views provides as an example for the diversity of the Chinese source market a discussion of Chinese breakfasts. For a good visual introduction, the best video available on Youtube is from the Fung Bros, which introduce dozens of Chinese regional breakfasts in a 23 minutes tour de dejeuner chinois.

In the News you will find as always selected news items about different aspects of the Chinese outbound market

In COTRI News invitations to two travel fair conferences: QTM 2023 and GITF 2024.

In next week’s edition fuller coverage will be given to the opportunity for SMEs and specialised companies and organisations to join one of four thematic villages at the GITF 2024.

Enjoy this week’s new content and the growing library of previous articles!