How much has Covid changed the Chinese traveller? If at all?
Destinations are about to find out with the help of two leading authorities in China outbound travel.
Professor Wolfgang Georg Arlt has for 45 years worked across the
Chinese travel market, while Gary Bowerman is director of Check-in Asia,
an Asia-focused travel consulting and consumer research firm.
Between them, the pair have produced a timely handbook, China
Outbound Tourism Handbook 2023: 88 Practical Ways to Prepare for the New
Wave of Chinese Visitors, which reveals not just the extent of future
travel from China, but where and what trends are emerging across the
The handbook explores the emerging travel, technology, fashion,
branding and lifestyle trends in China during the pandemic. It discusses
the diverse impacts of the Covid-zero policy on travellers and travel
For destinations, are they paying enough attention to night culture?
One trend that has emerged in recent years is for Chinese tourists to
stay out later and spending more into the early hours of the morning.
Another trend? The handbook’s authors see self-drive and RV motorhome
tours becoming a more visible part of the Chinese outbound market,
“especially in countries with high levels of perceived road safety”.
The handbook introduces the developmental drivers of the first 25
years of Chinese outbound tourism since it officially began in 1997 and
assesses the outlook up to 2030.
What’s ahead is staggering. The 200 million milestone of annual
cross-border movements from China is likely to be breached in 2028 – 14
years after it reached the 100 million mark in 2014.
More than ever, the authors say, smartphone apps drive everyday
lifestyle choices, adding “expectations of tech-enabled convenience will
surprise unprepared travel companies and destinations”.
Attention also needs to be paid to regional outbound trends.
“Consumer trends in China’s fast-growing lower-tier cities are far
from homogenous, and distinctive patterns of outbound travel will emerge
from each one,” the handbook reveals.
The handbook is available here.