DatabankEuromonitor International says the big spenders will return, just not yet.

Chinese travel surge? Not so fast

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Asia will be the first region to watch in 2023 for international travel as Chinese tourists return.
Asia will be the first region to watch in 2023 for international travel as Chinese tourists return. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/Shuang Li

Destinations in Asia that have sorely missed the economic impact of travellers from China during the country’s Covid-enforced shutdown might have to wait a little longer to see the full benefits of China’s 8 January reopening.

Insights from market research provider, Euromonitor International, indicate that the reimposition of inbound Covid-health checks by some countries will hold back outbound travel from China until later in the year.

China took the leading position in most Asian countries as a source market in 2019; top in Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, second in Philippines and Singapore, according to Euromonitor’s Top 100 City Destination Index 2022.

Those travellers loved to spend. The value of Chinese outbound tourism spending on shopping in 2019 was US$54.7 billion, a figure which will be tested once Chinese travel picks up full speed.

Alex Jarman, travel consultant, Euromonitor International, said China’s neighbours in Asia will see the most immediate impact from China’s removal of travel quarantine requirements.

“As China joins other countries in reopening its border, Asia will be the first region to watch in 2023 for international travel as Chinese tourists return.

“Many countries globally, however, have added new testing requirements for Chinese travellers due to the country’s surge in COVID infections. That surge may hinder growth this winter but expect to see strong growth of outbound travel beginning spring 2023.”

Jarman said Europe may have to wait longer for the return of Chinese travellers.

“However, Chinese travellers’ appetite for shopping remains as strong as ever, a welcome sign for Europe’s luxury retailers,” he added.

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