Chinese tourism recovery may not have come back as fast as
anticipated in the initial reopening months, but the country is now
advancing much swifter than neighbouring Japan, revealed the latest air
ticketing data by travel data and insights firm ForwardKeys.
Four weeks after the initial lifting of travel restrictions, both
countries showed similar levels of outbound travel recovery, at
approximately 15% of pre-pandemic levels.
However, in the subsequent months, a disparity emerged. By the 21st
to 28th week mark, after restrictions were lifted, China's outbound
travel nearly reached 49% of its 2019 figures. In contrast, Japan only
managed to recover to around 27% of the previous year's numbers during
the equivalent period.
Photo Credit: ForwardKeys actual air tickets data
During Q3, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) stands out by claiming the
no. 1 position among the 10 most resilient destinations for China
outbound travel, with an impressive 6% growth compared to the levels
seen in 2019.
“The UAE is an approved group tour destination. It maintains a robust
relationship with China through its active participation in the 'One
Belt One Road' initiative. In the context of post-pandemic recovery,
Chinese airlines have played a pivotal role by contributing
significantly to the restoration of flight capacity to the UAE, with
seat availability almost matching the levels observed before the
pandemic,” says China Market Analyst, Nan Dai from ForwardKeys.
Additionally, the UAE extends the convenience of visa-on-arrival
options for Chinese travellers, a feature of considerable value,
particularly given the extended visa application process that exists
during the ongoing pandemic period. These factors collectively reinforce
the UAE's appeal as a resilient and accommodating destination for
Chinese tourists, offering a seamless and accessible travel experience.
For these same reasons, Southeast Asia has emerged as the favoured destination region for Chinese travellers, “primarily due to its increased accessibility through numerous flights and relatively relaxed visa restrictions”, adds Dai.
The UK and Australia are emerging as prominent long-haul markets,
showcasing notable recovery trends, which ForwardKeys attributes to a
substantial rise in bookings from international students who typically
plan their trips to return to school in August and September.