Travel Industry News | Surge in May Day Outbound Travel; Heilongjiang Highlights Success in Ice and Snow Tourism

May 22, 2024
By Carrie Li

China’s Outbound Tourism is getting back to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Recent research from tourism intelligence firm ForwardKeys reveals that China’s outbound tourism is steadily regaining its pre-pandemic strength. In the first quarter of 2024, the issuance of flight tickets saw a consistent rise. As of April 3, reservations for the upcoming labour holidays are only 13% below the figures from the same period in 2019.

The latest Chinese Consumer Confidence Study underscores the rebound of China’s outbound travel market, suggesting that Chinese tourists are eager to start global adventures with renewed enthusiasm. Conducted between March 6 and 19, 2024, the study gathered insights from 1,015 Chinese tourists about their travel plans, preferred destinations, spending habits, and their responses to travel marketing. Findings from the survey reveal that in 2024, 63% of the participants have travelled or are planning to travel abroad—a notable increase from 41% in the same period last year. Moreover, only 10% of the respondents said that they have no interest in international travel this year; it was  31% in April 2023.

Chinese tourists are showing a growing interest in intercontinental travel. In 2024, nearly 40% plan to explore destinations beyond Asia. Among these, Europe is also a  preferred choice, with over a quarter of respondents aiming to travel. South Korea is one of the favourite destinations for the year, followed by Thailand, Japan, and Singapore, which now offers visa-free entry to Chinese tourists. For those considering even longer journeys, France is the most popular choice, with Iceland also drawing significant interest. According to an August 2023 survey by Dragon Trail, Iceland’s popularity has surged unexpectedly, fueled by its vivid portrayal in Chinese social media and reality shows that highlight its dramatic landscapes like the Northern Lights and volcanoes. This has placed Iceland among the top ten most desired destinations. [Source: ForwardKeys, Dragon Trail]

Increased Number of Japanese Tourists | Hotel Prices at a 30-Year High

Data from real estate data service provider CoStar shows that the average daily room rate for hotels in Japan in March was about 20,986 yen (approximately 107.53 gbp ), the highest level since August 1997, representing a nearly 20% increase from the same period last year. The average occupancy rate of hotels also rose to 78%.The recent dip in the yen’s value, coupled with the cherry blossom season, has drawn a large influx of tourists to Japan, culminating in a record-breaking 3.1 million visitors last month. [Source: Zhihui]

Global Air Capacity Up 7.8% in April

An OAG report indicates that global air capacity in April reached nearly 484 million seats, an increase of 7.8% compared to last year. The majority of this capacity, around 84%, comes from three key regions: Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America. Specifically, Asia-Pacific represents 37% of global capacity, Europe accounts for 24.2%, and North America contributes 22.2%.

Looking at domestic markets, the United States continues to lead as the largest global domestic market with 86.1 million seats, growing 4.3% year-over-year. China follows with 69.2 million seats, a modest 1.4% increase, notably lower than its 7.8% growth in March. Indonesia stands out with a significant 21.9% growth, making it the fastest-growing domestic market. [Source: Global Aviation Information, OAG]

Tujia: Popular Cities Homestay Prices Drop by About 10% in May 

Tujia Homestay has released the “2024 May Day Homestay Travel Forecast Report” which shows that as of April 24, the average booking volume across the platform in popular cities has increased by 20% year-over-year, making this May the busiest season for homestays. While the supply of quality homestays continues to grow, prices in this May are generally the same as last year, with some popular cities experiencing an average price drop of about 10%. During the Labour holiday period, the top ten popular cities on the platform are Chongqing, Fuzhou, Beijing, Chengdu, Qingdao, Xi’an, Weihai, Changsha, Hangzhou, and Dali. [Source: Global Travel News]

Heilongjiang OTA Tourism Revenue Reaches a 5-Year Peak.

On April 18th, Ctrip released the “2023-2024 Heilongjiang Ice and Snow Tourism Report.” Heilongjiang, a well-known ice and snow tourism destination, saw a significant increase in both visits and revenue during the 2023-2024 season. The region recorded a 145.59% increase in visits and a 168.29% increase in revenue compared to 2019, outperforming the national average and leading all other Chinese ice and snow destinations.

Fueled by its high popularity in 2023, Harbin has made a mark on international tourism, with inbound tourism quickly bouncing back this season. According to the report, the 2023-2024 season saw Heilongjiang’s inbound tourism rapidly recover to surpass 2019 levels. Visitor numbers from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan grew 4.3 times, and overseas tourist numbers increased 1.4 times. This season, the top ten source countries included South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Cambodia, with the number of Southeast Asian countries doubling from three to six. Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore experienced the most rapid increases, growing by 6.7, 5.4, and 4.8 times, respectively.

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