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China's Outbound Travel Soars in Anticipation of 'Golden Week' Holidays

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China's Outbound Travel Surges Ahead of 'Golden Week' Holidays

As China allows international travel to resume and despite a slowdown in economic growth, outbound travel from the country is experiencing a significant surge ahead of the upcoming "Golden Week" holiday period. According to travel provider Trip.com, bookings for popular foreign destinations such as Singapore, Australia, and Thailand have increased by 20 times compared to the same period last year.

Seeking Unique and Immersive Experiences

Travelers this year are showing a greater interest in "unique and immersive experiences," according to Trip.com CEO Jane Sun. Data indicates a rise in purchases of private group tours and bookings for less-popular destinations like Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan. This shift reflects a growing desire among travelers to explore authentic and off-the-beaten-path experiences.

Recovery from Covid-19 Travel Restrictions

The surge in bookings follows China's lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions in December and the subsequent end of the ban on group tours to over 70 countries in August. The United Kingdom and South Korea, both included on the list of permitted destinations, have seen increased travel from China, according to Trip.com. Despite expectations of a travel boom after China fully reopened its borders over six months ago, experts have not observed a significant increase in outbound travel. Many residents have chosen to stay home due to personal preferences or faced with challenging and costly options for international travel. However, domestic travel within China has seen a strong recovery. Trip.com reports that bookings for travel within the country during Golden Week are four times higher compared to last year. Residents are opting to explore different provinces for longer periods, with Northwest China's autumnal tours and South China's comfortable climate being particularly popular destinations. Golden Week traditionally sees hundreds of millions of Chinese residents traveling, boosting shopping and tourism. Even with pandemic restrictions, China recorded 637 million domestic travelers in 2020 during this holiday period. In conclusion, China's outbound travel is witnessing a remarkable surge as the country prepares for the upcoming 'Golden Week' holidays. Travelers are seeking unique experiences and exploring lesser-known destinations, reflecting a shift towards more authentic and immersive travel encounters. While international travel has not seen the expected boom, domestic travel within China has rebounded strongly, with residents opting for longer trips between provinces.

China's 'Golden Week' Travel Surge: Implications for New Businesses

As China experiences a significant surge in outbound travel ahead of the "Golden Week" holiday period, new businesses, particularly in the travel and tourism sector, could see a wealth of opportunities. Despite a slowdown in China's economic growth, the demand for international travel is on the rise, with bookings for popular destinations like Singapore, Australia, and Thailand increasing twentyfold compared to last year.

Emerging Trends in Travel Preferences

Interestingly, travelers are showing a preference for "unique and immersive experiences," according to Trip.com CEO Jane Sun. This shift towards less-popular destinations and private group tours could open up new avenues for businesses offering bespoke and off-the-beaten-path travel experiences. New businesses could capitalize on this trend by curating unique travel packages catering to this emerging clientele.

Post-Covid Travel Scenario

The lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions and the end of the ban on group tours to over 70 countries has spurred a surge in bookings. However, the anticipated boom in outbound travel post the reopening of borders has been less than expected. This could be attributed to residents choosing to stay home due to personal preferences or the challenges and costs associated with international travel. On the other hand, domestic travel within China has seen a strong recovery, with bookings during the Golden Week four times higher than last year. This trend could provide a boost to new businesses in the domestic travel and tourism sector, offering opportunities to tap into the demand for local travel experiences. In essence, the surge in China's outbound travel ahead of the 'Golden Week' holidays, coupled with the shift towards unique travel experiences and the rebound in domestic travel, presents a dynamic landscape for new businesses in the travel and tourism sector. By aligning with these trends, startups can position themselves for success in this evolving market.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/25/china-outbound-travel-surges-ahead-of-golden-week-holidays.html
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