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Unlocking the Post-Pandemic Surge: Douyin's Impact on China's Tourism Resurgence in 2023

Post-pandemic, China's tourism sector witnessed a rejuvenating spring in 2023. This report delves into the trends on the Douyin platform, highlighting the rapid growth of the culture and tourism industry, the explosive rise of online travel content, and new developments in the hotel and travel agency sectors.


Part 1: Revival and Innovation in the Culture and Tourism Industry

Market Revival: In 2023, domestic tourism reached 3.674 billion trips, a 75.5% year-over-year increase, with spending totalling 3.69 trillion yuan, up 114.4%. This robust recovery signals a resurgence in the tourism sector, with significant growth in popular cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Hangzhou.


Rise of Online Travel Content: In the first three quarters of 2023, Douyin's travel-related videos amassed an astonishing 926.4 billion views and 25.2 billion likes, indicating a substantial increase in demand for travel content. Compared to the first quarter, the third quarter saw a 60% increase in video views and a 42% rise in likes, reflecting the platform's ongoing popularity and people's keen interest in sharing travel experiences.


Diversification and Personalization of Travel Demand: The third quarter of 2023 saw a significant diversification and interaction growth in travel content on Douyin, especially outdoor lifestyle content during the summer, with likes increasing by 89%. Additionally, travel recommendations and daily travel content also saw increased interactions, providing rich travel inspiration for users.

Emerging Trends in Modern Tourism: Commando-style tourism and live-streamed travel have become new trends. In the first three quarters of 2023, the hashtag #CommandoStyleTourism topped travel-related topics on Douyin. Live-streamed tourism offered unique scenic views and convenient booking services, with over 500,000 related live broadcasts.


Part 2: Digital Transformation and New Online Marketing Trends in Scenic Areas

"Online Discovery + Offline Consumption" Pathway: Online platforms have transformed traditional tourism consumption, breaking geographical barriers. With the convenience of online services and evolving consumer attitudes, more people are turning to online channels for travel bookings. From January to September 2023, over 11 million users per month booked scenic spots through Douyin, highlighting the platform's significant role in the tourism industry.

With a predominant 67% female representation and a core consumer base aged 31-40, the highest order placement rate of 26% in first-tier emerging cities highlights their pivotal role in consumer activityThe gender distribution leans heavily towards females, who constitute a significant 67% of the demographic. The core of the consumer strength is centred around individuals aged 31-40, indicating a mature and potentially more financially stable customer base. Notably, the highest rate of order placements, at 26%, is observed in first-tier emerging cities, underscoring their leading role in consumer activity.

Part 3: Revival of Urban Vitality and the Hotel Industry

City Population Movement Drives Hotel Industry Recovery: In 2023, the revival of various activities, including travel, business, socializing, and offline performances, led to increased urban population movement, thereby stimulating the hotel industry's recovery. By the end of 2022, China had 430,000 accommodation facilities, including 279,000 hotels with 14.264 million rooms, indicating a steady recovery in the hotel sector.


Douyin Platform Boosts Online Presence of Hotels: Over 100,000 hotels established official accounts on Douyin by September 2023, showcasing the platform's significant role in the hotel industry.


Seasonal Growth of Hotel Content on Douyin: During the summer peak travel season, hotel-related content on Douyin saw a marked increase. In the third quarter of 2023, hotel video views increased by 39.7% compared to the previous quarter, and hotel searches on the platform grew by 122%, indicating high user interest.

Online Hotel Booking Trends on Douyin: With the return of offline hotel scenarios, users increasingly "discovered" (liked) hotels on Douyin, leading to online bookings. In the first three quarters of 2023, over 1.2 million users per month showed interest in hotels on the platform. Women booked more than men, with the 24-30 age group being the primary consumer force.

City-Level Distribution of Hotel Bookings: The distribution of hotel bookings was balanced across city tiers, with first-tier and second- and third-tier cities each accounting for 20% of bookings.

User Check-ins at Hotels: "Check-ins" at hotels became a popular trend, allowing individuals to record and share their experiences, providing practical references for others searching for the same location (POI). From January to September 2023, Shanghai had the highest number of hotel POI check-ins at 2.8 million, followed by Guangzhou and Shenzhen, each exceeding 2 million. This online popularity complemented the offline prosperity of these cities, enhancing their cultural and tourism appeal.


Part 4: Revival and Online Transformation of Travel Agencies

Revival of Travel Agency Outlets: In 2023, as the tourism industry recovered, travel agencies, serving as vital links in the industry, saw a steady increase in their offline outlets. By June 30, 2023, there were 50,800 travel agencies nationwide, with Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Hubei leading in domestic tourism reception.


Significant Increase in Online Content: In the first three quarters of 2023, travel agency-related content on Douyin surpassed 1.6 billion views, with a 252% increase in September compared to the previous year. This growth indicates rising interest in travel-related content as cities regain their vitality.


Effectiveness of Online Business Models: Travel agencies enhanced their brand image through POI stores on Douyin. From January to September 2023, the number of travel agency stores on the platform grew by 245%, proving the effectiveness of online platforms in brand recognition and business growth.


Short Videos and Live Streams Drive Order Growth: Short videos and live streams, as efficient means of disseminating travel content, significantly increased orders for travel agencies. In September 2023, orders from short videos grew by 177% compared to January, while orders from live streams saw rapid growth. This multi-channel approach led to efficient growth for travel agency businesses.


In 2023, China's tourism industry not only rapidly recovered from the pandemic with the help of the Douyin platform but also fostered new trends in diversification and personalization. As digitalization and online content continue to evolve, the tourism industry is poised for even richer and more diverse development opportunities.


For more insights, trends, and collaborations in the tourism sector, or to explore how your business can leverage the power of Douyin, feel free to contact us. Join us in shaping the future of travel and tourism in this exciting digital era.

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