Outbound group tours in tight supply amid booming market
Published: Mar 05, 2023 08:49 PM
Chinese tourists visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, in Bangkok, Thailand, on February 7, 2023. Photo: IC

Chinese tourists visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, in Bangkok, Thailand, on February 7, 2023. Photo: IC

Amid Chinese travelers' rising desire for outbound tours, travel agencies have ramped up efforts to provide more targeted products to cope with a continuous boom in market demand, as multiple countries and regions have recently relaxed entry restrictions for Chinese tourists. 

The first three outbound group tours heading for New Zealand departed from Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong Province at 12 am on Friday, as more than 60 tourists took CZ305 to Auckland, China Southern Airlines said on Sunday. 

The tours, launched by Guangzhou GZL International Travel Corp, were the first batch of Chinese outbound group tours heading to the Southern Hemisphere after China resumed pilot outbound group tours and New Zealand resumed the issuance of ADS Group visas, the reported on Sunday. 

The cost per person reached 26,000 yuan ($3,765), with the 40 vacancies for two groups being sold out within one minute. A newly added third group sold out in one day.

A number of countries and regions have recently lifted the entry restrictions for Chinese travelers, such as Japan. 

As of last week, the search popularity of "Japan" on Chinese online travel agency surged 169 percent year-on-year since the resumption of visa issuance between China and Japan, data sent to the Global Time by the platform showed. 

The bookings for flights from the Chinese mainland to Japan increased by seven times, and the number of bookings for hotels surged by nearly 10 times. 

The searches for Japanese products on increased 76 percent compared with the previous day on February 27 when the Japanese government announced plans to relax epidemic prevention controls for Chinese travelers starting on March 1. 

After the relaxation, the mandatory testing for all Chinese travelers entering Japan was shifted to random testing, but a negative result within 72 hours is required. 

Boosted by the booming market, Chinese agencies have been launching more targeted products, as domestic travelers quickly secure a spot, leaving some products in short supply. 

For instance, a Mediterranean cruise tour product launched by U-Tour group to "Travel the world for 121 days," departing in 2024 and priced at nearly 200,000 yuan, was already sold out, the reported, and additional slots were also quickly taken.

As of March 3, had launched a total of 7,205 products for outbound group tours covering 19 countries along with the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. 

Chinese travelers are passionate about outbound travel, reflected by an extended processing times for visas and other documents, Zhang Yi, CEO of iiMedia Research Institute, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Zhang said that the coming period will remain a peak one for outbound travel, which will offer huge potential for travel firms. 

In terms of destination preferences, Zhang added that Chinese travelers are primarily drawn to historical sites or scenic spots with enriched nature views, and they also take safety and the local government's attitude toward China into consideration.