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China's Outbound Tourism Research

China has been a major player in the international market until 2020 and is also the country with the largest outbound tourism spending and consumption globally. Since the Chinese government has released more and more good news about outbound tourism, and after epidemic prevention and control measures have been greatly adjusted, outbound tourism has gradually accelerated toward the pace of recovery.

The new policy has a rapid impact on overseas tourism consumption, with the significant opening of the borders and resumption of overseas travel triggering the highest search volume on China’s travel platform Ctrip in the past three years. After the release of this series of optimization measures, China’s tourism industry sees hope for recovery. Based on the travel industry market survey conducted by China's Outbound Travel & Tourism Market (COTTM), we have compiled some key insights to learn more about the next trend of China’s outbound tourism.

From 2020 to 2022, major overseas tourist destinations promoted their destinations and related tourism products through various platforms in China market, with social media (35.48%), online marketing (27.96%) and roadshows (17.20%) representing the TOP 3 promotion methods. As overseas tourism hopes to recover, according to the results of the COTTM survey, a whopping 31.58% of the Ministry of Tourism/Embassy/Tourism Bureaus (representative office) believe that China’s outbound tourism market will fully recover in the second quarter of 2023, and 28.95% in the third quarter.

Up to 71.06% of the major Ministry of Tourism/Embassy/Tourism Bureaus (representative office) are very confident about the arrival of Chinese tourists in 2023. Qatar Tourism Boards view China as an important market to develop and cultivate, with great potential for development. The representative of the Spanish Embassy in Beijing believes that Chinese fans pay a high degree of attention to destination advertising on the official account, regardless of offline and online promotion, Chinese tourists have shown a high level of interest and love for Spain. After China opened its entry and exit, major Ministry of Tourism/Embassy/Tourism Bureaus (representative office) will promote their respective destination countries through a series of promotion methods. Among the promotion methods, offline activities account for the largest share including offline exhibitions with 16.42%.

According to the survey results, 45.95% of Chinese tour operators believe that Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries are the top choice for Chinese tourists to travel abroad, followed by Japan and South Korea with 17.12%. In addition, business and leisure activities between China and destinations in Central Asia, South Asia and West Asia will become closer and more frequent as the “Belt and Road Initiative” moves forward. It is worth mentioning that after visiting Saudi Arabia last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed《The Implementation Plan of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the Joint Construction of the “Belt and Road Initiative” and the “2030 Vision”》, and at the same time announced to open Saudi Arabia as a destination for Chinese to organize outbound tourism, which will attract Chinese citizens to visit Saudi Arabia or other Arab countries in the form of business and leisure travel.

Qatar, which successfully hosted the World Cup, will further develop Qatar and other Middle Eastern regions as a destination for outbound tourism, attracting Chinese tourists interested in bespoke themed tourism products such as customized luxury tours, parent-child tours, adventure and entertainment themes. Among the types of resource providers in the destinations, the Chinese tourism operators want to know more about ground pick-up services (20.86%), customized themed tour services (18.06%) and hotels or accommodations facilities (18.06%). At present, 36.84% of Chinese tourism operators are actively looking for outbound tourism resources, followed by 22.11% of operators forming overseas tourism business teams.

To find out more about the survey results or trends in China’s outbound travel, please contact us.

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