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China's Outbound Travel is Soaring as Quarantine Restrictions Lifted: What You Need to Know

After a long hiatus, China's outbound travel industry is starting to bounce back. With quarantine restrictions now lifted, travellers are eager to explore the world once again. In the first quarter of 2023 alone, outbound bookings from mainland China increased by 331% compared to last year. This pent-up demand has led to a surge in travel during this year's holiday period. In this blog post, we will discuss the latest statistics and trends in China's outbound travel industry, as well as the top destinations and airlines that travellers should keep an eye on.

According to our latest research and data from ForwardKeys, China Eastern Airlines, Air China, and China Southern Airlines are the top 3 airlines with the highest number of scheduled international seats from June to October 2023. Additionally, 83.8% of the scheduled seats are with regular airlines, while 16.2% are with low-cost carriers. Among the preferred international destination regions, Asia-Pacific remains at the top with 80.3%, followed by Europe.

The top five destinations that travellers from China have booked trips from June to October 2023 are Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. One significant difference in 2023 travel is that tourists from mainland China take shorter trips, with the percentage of 2-day and 3–4-day trips increasing. This may explain why closer destinations, such as Hong Kong and Macau, claim the number one and two spots from January to March 2023.

Source: ForwardKeys (June to October 2023)

Thailand continues to be the busiest international route, with almost 495k seats in May 2023. South Korea sees the largest airline capacity increase, with 118k more seats, an increase of 35% compared to April 2023. Japan also saw a large increase in percentage terms, with 29% more seats in May than in April 2023.

Up to 72.3% of travellers are on leisure purposes and 12.5% travel in groups. International airline capacity in China continues its travel recovery since reopening in January; carriers are operating over 650k more international seats in May than in April 2023. Chinese carriers increased their international capacity by 22% this month, adding 650k airline seats between April and May 2023 and bringing the total number of seats flown to almost 3.7m.

Source: OAG

Source: OAG

The lift of quarantine restrictions in China has led to a surge in outbound travel demand. Travellers are eager to explore the world again and book trips to various destinations across the globe. Although the outbound travel industry has not yet reached its 2019 booking levels, it is steadily recovering. As more travellers plan their trips, keeping an eye on the top airlines and destinations is important. China Eastern Airlines, Air China, and China Southern Airlines are the top three airlines to watch, and Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan are the top destinations to visit. With the continued recovery of the travel industry, we can expect to see more exciting developments in China's outbound travel space.

Don't miss out on the exciting developments in China's outbound travel space. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about China's outbound travel industry and the top destinations and airlines to watch, please feel free to reach out to us. Our team is ready to assist you and provide you with the latest information and insights.


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