What happened to the Chinese travel boom everyone was waiting for?

Many Chinese residents stayed home - either because they wanted to, or because it was too difficult and costly to leave the country

Jul 27, 2023

A lack of affordable flights and protracted waiting times for travel visas to go abroad have slowed China’s outbound recovery, says Wolfgang Georg Arlt, founder and chief executive of Chinese Outbound Tourism Research Institute.

Key takeaways

  • Domestic airline capacity in China has fully recovered, yet international flight capacity is still less than half of pre-pandemic levels, down nearly 5 million seats, according to Skift Research’s “State of Travel 2023” report published last week;
  • Another reason is that domestic tourism has won in prestige and also in quality. For the last holidays, like Dragon Boat race festival, the domestic tourism level was already back to 2019 levels. Outbound travel is only back to about one-third of 2019 levels in terms of number of trips;
  • Travel spending has also been disappointing this year, as Chinese tourists tighten their purse strings while the country’s post-Covid economic recovery struggles to find a foothold.

Get the full story at CNBC

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