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China Outbound Travel Market 2024 Projection
23 January 2024, Beijing - The China Tourism Academy predicts that the recovery process of the inbound and outbound tourism market will further accelerate in 2024, with annual inbound and outbound tourism trips and international tourism revenue exceeding 264 million trips and US$107 billion respectively. China Travel Online forecasts China outbound travel market will hit about 100 million trips this year, a recovery of about 80% to 2019 level.
Many sources share a similar projection this year. According to Oxford Economics 2024 projection: "We anticipate that the number of international outbound trips taken by Chinese travelers in 2024 will roughly double relative to 2023. While a notable increase, this implies that Chinese outbound travel volumes will remain 22% below 2019 volumes".
Global destinations eyeing on China recovery
In 2023, with the recovery of global tourism, Chinese tourists are once again welcomed around the world. Several China Ready elements including easy flight access, visa exemption or visa on arrival, friendly language environment, rich tourism resources with attractions and activities are essential for Chinese tourist in selecting destination.
Among them, South East Asian countries are ahead of the game. At the end of 2023, a number of Southeast Asian countries to introduce visa-friendly policies: Malaysia and Singapore announced the implementation of visa-free entry for Chinese citizens within 30 days;
Thailand announced that China and Thailand will permanently waive visas for each other's citizens from March. Fliggy data show that within one hour after the announcement of the new visa-free policy, the search volume of air tickets to Thailand instantly increased by more than two times.
Data from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) shows that international passenger flights have recovered from less than 500 per week at the beginning of 2023 to more than 4,600 per week at present. Passenger traffic between China and Europe has recovered to more than 60 per cent of its pre-epidemic level, and the number of regular direct passenger flights between China and the U.S. has increased to 63 flights per week. 2024 will see a continued and accelerated recovery of the international passenger market, with around 6,000 flights per week by the end of the year, which is a return to around 80 per cent of its pre-epidemic level in 2019. For the year of 2023, international schedule flights from China to overseas has reach over 60% of pre-pandemic level.
Major festival and Chinese New Year 2024
Right now, many Chinese are planning their holiday in upcoming winter and Spring Festival holidays. Tuniu data show that this year's Spring Festival group period of travel products booking volume compared to the same period last year increased significantly, the booking peak is also significantly earlier. At present, outbound travel booking orders accounted for 34 per cent, Thailand, Singapore, Maldives, Russia, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Nordic connection are some of the popular options. According to Tongcheng data shown below, two of the major festivals are Chinese New year and China National holiday which represents 13.5% and 13.7% of total outbound number respectively. July and August school holiday represents 21.6% of total number.
Long haul Destinations
Guests planning to go to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and other destinations with long visa processing cycles during the Spring Festival holiday have basically completed their bookings, and the next step will be the turnover cycle of travel products for visa-free and visa-on-arrival destinations. Spring Festival travelling crowd is dominated by family customers, and the popular destinations are basically countries and regions with warm climates and suitable for young and old.
Strong desire to travel abroad
According to the "Outbound Travel Demand Trend Outlook for Chinese 2024" released by Tongcheng, shows that with the rapid recovery of international flights and the optimism of visa policies in major destinations, residents' willingness to travel out of China has increased significantly, and more than 60% of the interviewees said that they have plans to travel out of China within a year. In addition, the survey shows that the price of air tickets, hotels and other tourism products is the primary factor affecting people's choice of outbound travel destinations, with destination safety issues second only to price in importance, and sightseeing elements such as humanities, history and scenery, which are closely related to the travel experience, coming in third.
Source: Xinhua News, China Tourism Academy, China Economic News, Oxford Economics, China Travel Online