China’s tourism industry is preparing for a comeback in 2023 as the world recovers from the pandemic. Businesses can benefit from understanding the travel plans and preferences of Chinese citizens who are excited to explore foreign destinations again. This knowledge can help companies tap into the lucrative Chinese tourism market and provide tailored offerings to meet their needs.
In this blog post, we dive into when Chinese tourists plan to travel abroad in 2023 and examine key factors such as popular travel periods and top destinations.
Chinese Outbound Travel Forecast
Over 60% of Chinese respondents want to travel outside mainland China this year, while the rest will either stay domestic or not travel at all.
The Chinese travel market is expected to recover in the second half of 2023, with 42% planning to travel outbound in July and August, and 32% during the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day Golden Week holiday from 29 September-6 October.
14% On Chinese New Year (21st To 27th January)
The Lunar New Year is a special time for Chinese travelers who visit family and explore new places.
According to Trip.com, bookings for overseas travel during the 2023 Chinese New Year holidays are expected to increase by over 14%.
Even though safety is important, Chinese tourists are still excited to travel and experience different cultures, food, and attractions. They may go shopping in Paris, skiing in Japan, or relaxing on a beach in Thailand. As the world recovers from the pandemic, the travel industry is ready to welcome Chinese tourists seeking adventure.
5% On Qing Ming Festival (5th April)
The Qing Ming Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day, holds great significance for the Chinese tourism industry. In 2023, it is estimated that 5% of Chinese tourists will embark on outbound trips during this period.
This traditional festival is a time for families to come together and pay their respects to their ancestors by cleaning and visiting tombs.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in domestic tourism during Qingming Festival. In 2023, China recorded an impressive 24 million domestic tourist trips on April 5th, representing a remarkable 22.7% increase from the previous year. This trend is expected to continue into the May Day holidays, indicating a strong rebound for the Chinese tourism sector.
As the country continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic, the Qing Ming Festival serves as a promising indicator of the growing confidence and resilience of the Chinese tourism industry. With the support of domestic tourism and the gradual resumption of international travel, the future looks bright for the industry in the years to come.
14% On Labor Day (29th April To 3rd May)
Many Chinese people travel abroad during the Labor Day holiday from April 29th to May 3rd. This year, 14% of Chinese tourists traveled internationally, showing that more people are interested in exploring other countries.
This also means that domestic tourism in China has returned to pre-pandemic levels. However, safety concerns should still be considered when traveling outside of China.
6% On Dragon Boat Festival (22sd To 24th June)
The Dragon Boat Festival happening from June 22nd to June 24th is expected to boost Chinese outbound travel by 6%.
This is great timing as it falls during the summer season when many people have vacation time. With the pandemic recovery and more people getting vaccinated, travelers are excited to explore new places.
According to Qyer’s report, most Chinese visitors plan to travel overseas within a year.
The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu Festival, is a traditional holiday in China that commemorates the life and death of the famous poet and minister Qu Yuan. It is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, which usually falls in June on the Gregorian calendar.
The festival is marked by dragon boat races, eating zongzi (sticky rice dumplings), and hanging aromatic herbs on doors and windows to ward off evil spirits. It is a time for family reunions and paying respects to ancestors.
42% In Summer (July And August)
According to recent data, 42% of Chinese travelers are planning to venture out of their country during the summer months of July and August in 2023.
This is a promising sign for the global tourism industry, as it indicates a strong rebound in outbound travel from China, which was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chinese tourists remain enthusiastic about exploring new destinations overseas. In 2023, it is estimated that Chinese tourists will spend a staggering $255 billion on international travel, making 166 million trips outside China, accounting for almost one-fifth of global tourism spending.
32% On Mid-Autumn Festival / National Day (29th September To 6th October)
From September 29th to October 6th, China celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday, and this year, 32% of Chinese tourists are planning to travel overseas.
The Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday is one of the most significant holidays in China, and it marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the autumn season. During this time, families get together to celebrate and enjoy traditional mooncakes, which are a symbol of the festival.
Apart from spending time with family and indulging in delicious food, many Chinese people take advantage of this holiday to travel and explore new destinations.
According to a recent survey, Chinese consumers have their sights set on Asia for their outbound travel plans in 2023.
Hong Kong takes the top spot, with over 20% of respondents choosing it as their desired destination. Macao follows closely behind, with 11.4% of respondents eager to visit. Thailand is also a popular choice among Chinese travelers, with 11.1% of respondents selecting it as their preferred destination.
In fact, Thailand is almost twice as popular as Japan, which comes in as the next most popular Asian country.
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In conclusion, based on the Chinese outbound travel forecast, it seems that Chinese tourists are eager to start traveling again in 2023. The recovery of outbound travel is expected to intensify in the second half of the year with Hong Kong, Macao, and Thailand being top destinations.
Although there may be some challenges such as passport or visa renewal and quarantine requirements due to COVID-19 restrictions, China’s tourism industry is bouncing back with all types of visas being issued to foreign visitors.
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