Golden Week outbound travel to surge by 500% compared with May Day holidays: travel agencies
Setting a Pioneering Step post-Pandemic
The upcoming eight-day Golden Week holiday is predicted to prompt the most substantial surge in Chinese outbound tourism since the onset of the global pandemic. Travel agencies have forecasts suggesting that travel to Southeast Asia, primarily fueled by Thailand’s revised travel procedures for Chinese citizens, will continue an upward trend.
Thailand recently welcomed the first wave of visitors, having lifted visa requirements for Chinese tourists. This decision, which comes as the Southeast Asian nation initiated a five-month visa-free policy for Chinese tourists, is being enthusiastically received by Chinese travelers.
Imminent Market Boom
Insiders in the tourism sphere have confirmed that travel packages from China to Thailand for the duration of September 28 to October 1 are almost sold out. The few remaining spots are anticipated to be snapped up quickly. Since Thailand announced its visa-free entry policy, online tourism forums have reported an 800% spike in searches related to the Southeast Asian destination.
With the arrival of the Golden Week holidays, which combines the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day break, the Chinese travel market is geared up for a significant boost. Marking eight days from September 29 to October 6, the leisure-oriented period is expected to be utilized by increasing numbers of Chinese tourists traveling abroad, with Thailand emerging as a popular choice.
Outstanding Growth and New Records
Western online travel agency Trip.com noted a significant rise in outbound tourism centered around the Golden Week holiday period. This rise marked an increase of nearly 20 times compared with the previous year. Among the popular options are Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and the UK.
National tourism giant UTour Group is predicting a 500% surge of outbound tourists from China during the Golden Week holiday, anticipating a new record in the number of tourists traveling abroad. Industry insiders prophesy that the outbound tourism dynamics for the upcoming holidays will potentially exceed the parameters of 2019.
Airfare Surge and Triggers of Tourism Recovery
Consequently, the outbound tourism boom has provoked a significant increase in airfares. As of the middle of September, data illustrated a substantial increase in the number of bookings for both inbound and outbound flights leading up to the Golden Week dates. Airfares hit a peak, registering a rise of about 44% compared to the May Day holidays.
Industry professionals have posited that the rejuvenation of outbound group tours and the relaxation of visa policies for Chinese travelers are positive factors in the further recovery of the outbound tourism market. In recent news, China announced a resumption of outbound group tour services to 78 countries globally.
Pre-pandemic Levels in Sight
Despite the resurgence of international flights, industry experts have voiced concerns over diminished flight capacity and lingering visa processing durations compared to pre-pandemic operations. In response, government bodies and civil aviation authorities in China have pledged to further advocate for the smooth and orderly recovery of international passenger flights.
Reflecting the substantial progress already made, data as of mid-September revealed that the number of weekly international passenger flights has returned to 52% of the 2019 level. Additionally, passenger flight connectivity has resumed to nearly 90% of pre-pandemic levels. Alarmingly, flight numbers to several countries, including the UK, Italy, and the Maldives, have even surpassed pre-pandemic figures.
With these developments, it is very apparent that Chinese outbound tourism shows signs of a remarkable and steady recovery despite ongoing challenges post-pandemic.
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