Latest news on the Chinese outbound travel market (08 Jan ’23)

January 10, 2023
By Helena Beard

We get lots of insight and gossip from our friends in the Chinese travel trade and media via our office in Beijing. We share the Chinese travel news on our LinkedIn pages and post it here on our website. To be the first to know, follow Guanxi on LinkedIn.

#ChineseTravelWhispers – Part One

10 things we heard on the Chinese travel grapevine this week…

1.     The Chinese travel trade are working hard to regroup their outbound travel teams very quickly. Many had moved internally to domestic travel departments or left the industry during the pandemic.

2.     In general, the Chinese travel agents we’ve spoken to have told us they think the testing being introduced by countries like the UK is pretty sensible and unlikely to be a problem for them or their customers.

3.     Covid testing in China is still free of charge and it is easy to find a public testing centre in the street. 

4.     Chinese travel journalists and KOLs/influencers are suddenly overwhelmed with requests for international press trips and are very busy.

5.     European tourist boards such as Switzerland and France have restarted their promotional activity with the Chinese travel trade and media already. Germany never paused theirs.

6.     Everyone is researching heavily. Travel website, Mafengwo, told us this week that the traffic to trip report pages has increased fourfold, and one KOL we brought to the UK twice pre- Covid for LNER and Visit Bristol told us she’d seen a huge increase in people reading and saving her blog itineraries.

7.     Whilst travel researching is exploding, bookings won’t be back until more international flights restart and prices come down. Flights to Thailand (a very popular destination with no Covid restrictions) which were around 2,500 RMB pre Covid were 16,000 RMB this week. It will take a little while for things to settle.

8.     You can’t get a visa without a flight booking. Another reason flights are the focus.

9.     Passport offices haven’t been issuing new passports or renewing passports during Covid. So, if you don’t have validity left on your passport, you won’t be able to travel internationally yet.

10.  Everyone is optimistic that, despite the downturn in the Chinese economy, those who had the money to travel to Europe pre Covid still have the money to travel. Pent up demand in this segment will be HUGE!

The wave passing through China is affecting so many people right now. It’s fast and far reaching. But once the peak has passed, and once full flight schedules restart, we expect to see a huge surge in bookings. They will be late bookings and destination choice will be influenced largely by social media and the perceived friendliness and welcome of the people. 

The UK has a coronation in May. Pictures will be broadcast around the world. Are we ready?

If you’d like to find out any more about how you can get ready for the return of Chinese tourists, please get in touch through our website at www.guanxi.group or email [email protected]

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