China’s recent announcement on Thursday has sparked excitement as group tours to an additional 78 countries have been given the green light. Prominent destinations like Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia are among the included countries.
This news triggered a surge in inquiries to travel agencies, prompting swift action to introduce new travel options to these eagerly anticipated destinations.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a notice stating that starting from Thursday, travel agencies and online travel companies are permitted to resume group travel services to these 78 destinations.
China had initially resumed outbound group tours to 60 countries back in February and March.
The gradual reopening of outbound group travel for Chinese citizens has effectively maintained stability and organization within the overall outbound tourism market. This move has played a positive role in fostering tourism exchanges and collaboration, as highlighted by the official notice.
Prior to the global pandemic outbreak in 2019, China held the world’s largest outbound tourism market, boasting 169 million trips made during that year, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics.
In light of increasing international passenger flights and a growing willingness among Chinese citizens to explore overseas destinations once again, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Thursday declaring the resumption of outbound group tours to more countries. The statement also stressed the importance of thorough preparation and health-conscious travel.
The surge in interest was tangible as online travel services provider Trip.com Group noted a more than twentyfold surge in outbound travel inquiries. The upcoming weeklong National Day holiday in October particularly captured travelers’ attention.
Capitalizing on this fervor, the company swiftly introduced nearly 1,000 new travel products. As the range of outbound group travel options broadens, it is expected that costs will decrease, ultimately leading to more affordable prices, according to the company’s insights.
Trip.com data indicated that between June and July, the number of outbound tourism bookings made by their users on the Chinese mainland surged by 44 percent. Destinations like Tokyo, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Macao emerged as the top choices.
Meanwhile, the current month has witnessed a significant rebound, with more than 50 percent of weekly international flights compared to the same period in 2019. Ticket prices have also dropped by an impressive 80 percent compared to the same time last year, according to Trip.com statistics.
Data from Meituan, the on-demand service giant, revealed a sevenfold increase in searches for overseas hotel accommodations on average, with South Korea and Japan garnering significant attention.
Lu Mengxi, the head of Meituan’s cultural and tourism research institute, noted the evident rise in interest and enthusiasm for outbound travel among Chinese citizens based on the platform’s outbound travel product popularity.
This newly announced policy is set to unlock further tourism consumption potential, instilling fresh confidence in the global economic recovery, Lu stated.
In the first half of this year, travelers from the Chinese mainland embarked on a total of 40.37 million outbound trips, with an overwhelming 94 percent opting for Asian destinations such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam, according to the China Tourism Academy. The most favored overseas travel spots during this period were Hong Kong and Macao.