A backlog of passport renewals, the struggle by international airlines to find the long-haul aircraft to reconnect with China and the remaining international visa restrictions for Chinese travellers will slow the tide but only delay the inevitable: the massive demand for international travel of all types by Chinese travellers.
The findings of a new McKinsey&Company report which examines China’s travel rebound following the country’s lifting of travel restrictions reveals that while travel from China will not pick up as quickly as that from Hong Kong, it will recover once a huge backlog of passport renewals is processed and internationals airlines get mothballed aircraft back in the air.
The report’s author, Steve Saxon, a partner in McKinsey’s Shenzhen office, said, “In all cases, globally, when travel restrictions ease, demand jumps. Travel to visit friends and relatives, to study, and urgent business travel rebound first. Leisure travel for vacations follows quickly afterwards.”
In a recent McKinsey survey, 40% of Chinese travellers said they wanted their next trip to be international, with Australia/New Zealand, South-east Asia, and Japan being the most desired destinations.
However, Saxon warns, “A strong demand recovery, coupled with frictions in bringing back supply, is likely to mean ticket prices into and from China remain elevated for the coming months, until supply can fully come back online.”
On the outlook for inbound travel, Saxon said it will return “but not immediately, given the current COVID-19 waves in the country combined with factors that may deter travellers such as China requiring a PCR test 48 hours before departure”.
Overall, he shared, “For the longsuffering travel industry, the future is bright at last.”