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Chinese Tourism is Back! Here's What You Need to Know

The Chinese tourism market is making a strong comeback in 2023. After two years of travel restrictions, Chinese consumers are eager to explore the world again and destinations in Southeast Asia and the Middle East are well-positioned to benefit from this renewed interest.


Discover the latest insights into Chinese tourism and gain valuable knowledge about the recovery of this crucial market segment. In this article, we delve into the key findings that shed light on the current state of Chinese tourism recovery, including flight capacity improvements, shifting traveller profiles, and the industry's excitement for the future from the sharing of Dragon Trails in ATM Dubai 2023.


Key findings:


#1. Flight capacity is the main obstacle, but progress is being made:

Chinese travel recovery has been hindered by limited flight capacity between China and other countries. However, positive developments are underway, with an increase in flights expected in the coming months. Chinese carriers are expanding their operations, particularly to popular destinations like the Maldives and Thailand. Bureaucratic hurdles, such as visa processing delays and restrictions on group tourism products, have also impacted the pace of recovery.

#2 Recovery is underway and gaining momentum:

After a few months of reopening, outbound tourism from China is gaining steam. Optimism surrounds the second half of the year, with hotels in Thailand, the Maldives, and Bali already experiencing positive trends. Expectations for Chinese market recovery range from 50% to 60% by the end of this year. The Chinese market is known for concentrating outbound travel plans in the second half, with July, August, and the National Day holiday (29 September-6 October) being key periods for travel.

#3 Last-minute bookings are the new norm:

Chinese travellers have become even more spontaneous in their booking habits. The booking window has significantly shortened, from around one month to just two weeks. Uncertainty surrounding flight schedules is the primary driver of this trend. Hoteliers have observed a shift, with rooms being booked by other nationalities with longer booking windows before Chinese guests secure their reservations.


#4 Longer stays define Chinese travel in 2023:

While bookings are last-minute, Chinese travellers are opting for longer stays. This trend is observed across various destinations. Chinese tourists are now more inclined to immerse themselves in local experiences and spend quality time exploring their chosen destinations. Hotels report that the average length of stay for Chinese guests has increased from 1.1-1.2 nights to 2.1-2.2 nights. This shift offers opportunities for businesses to cater to the evolving needs of Chinese travellers.


#5 Evolving Chinese travellers profile:

The pandemic has brought about changes in the Chinese traveller's profile. Although some changes may be temporary, others reflect long-term shifts in behaviour. Notably, Chinese tourists are increasingly choosing individual travel (FIT) over group tours. Online bookings have replaced traditional travel agent bookings. Additionally, Chinese travellers are embracing a more diverse range of activities, such as wellness experiences, experimental dining, and learning opportunities. These changes indicate a deeper and more confident approach to travel, which is likely to persist beyond the pandemic.


#6. Excitement for the future:

The global tourism industry eagerly awaits the return of Chinese travellers. The absence of Chinese tourists has left a void that cannot be filled by any other market. The industry recognizes the advantages of catering to Chinese travellers, including their flexible seasonality preferences. The Maldives, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East are particularly well-positioned to benefit from the projected increase in Chinese outbound travel. Chinese travellers are known for their open-mindedness and willingness to embrace different cultures and cuisines, making them an attractive market for destinations worldwide.

ATM Dubai 2023 provided invaluable insights into the recovery and evolving dynamics of Chinese tourism. With flight capacity gradually improving, a surge in last-minute bookings, and a preference for longer stays, businesses need to adapt and capitalize on the changing trends. While some changes may be temporary, the shift towards individual travel and the desire for immersive experiences indicate long-term shifts in Chinese travellers' behaviour. As the industry eagerly awaits the return of Chinese tourists, destinations that prioritize friendliness, cultural understanding, and unique experiences will stand out. By staying attuned to these key takeaways, businesses can position themselves to tap into the immense potential of the Chinese tourism market in the coming months and beyond.


If you would like to understand more about how to reach out to Chinese travellers effectively, contact us now.

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