China’s home-made passenger aircraft C919 takes off from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport during its first commercial flight in Shanghai, China, May 28, 2023.
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Outbound travel from China is surging ahead of the first “Golden Week” holiday period since the country allowed international travel to resume and even as China’s economic growth has slowed.
Bookings for popular foreign destinations such as Singapore, Australia and Thailand increased 20-fold compared to the same period last year, travel provider Trip.com said in a press release on Monday. Golden Week, which begins on October 1 this year, marks the annual week-long period encompassing the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day in China.
More than in previous years, travelers are looking for “unique and immersive experiences,” Trip.com CEO Jane Sun said in the press release. The data shows an increase in purchases of private group tours as well as bookings for less popular destinations such as Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan, the travel provider said.
“We have observed a significant shift toward high-quality services and comprehensive travel experiences,” Sun said in the press release. “Travellers not only explore popular destinations, but also seek authentic experiences off the beaten path.”
The surge in bookings comes after China lifted Covid-19 travel restrictions in December and lifted a ban on group travel to a list of more than 70 countries in August. The United Kingdom and South Korea – two countries that are seeing more travel from China, according to Trip.com – were added to the list.
Although more than six months have passed since China’s borders fully reopened, experts are not seeing a widely expected boom in travel from the country. Instead, many residents chose to stay home because they preferred it or because they faced difficult or costly options for international travel.
At the same time, domestic travel has recovered. According to Trip.com, bookings for travel within China increased fourfold compared to Golden Week last year, with residents opting to travel between different provinces for longer periods. According to Trip.com, the autumnal tours in northwest China and the pleasant climate in southern China have made these destinations particularly popular.
Golden Week typically spurs hundreds of millions of people in China to travel. For example, despite the pandemic restrictions, the country recorded 637 million domestic travelers in 2020. The holiday season is known for boosting shopping and tourism among residents.
Source : www.cnbc.com