China's Spring Festival holiday traveling expected to spree a revival for global tourism
Published: Jan 23, 2024 04:02 PM
A photo shows Abbas Sayed Abbas, a Chinese-speaking Egyptian tourist guide, with a group of Chinese tourists in Egypt Photo: Huang Peizhao

A photo shows Abbas Sayed Abbas, a Chinese-speaking Egyptian tourist guide, with a group of Chinese tourists in Egypt Photo: Huang Peizhao

Chinese tourists are returning to the world, and the Spring Festival holidays are expected to see outbound travel peak, according to reports of Chinese online travel platforms Qunar, Tongcheng Travel and

According to a report sent by Qunar to the Global Times on Tuesday, overseas hotel bookings through the platform for the upcoming holidays have continued to rise since January, and nearly 80 percent of tourists who are scheduled to stay in Southeast Asia during the period have booked high-end and luxury resort hotels.

Visa-free policies for Chinese travelers, convenient transportation, increased flight routes, abundant tourism resources, and relatively low travel costs have made Southeast Asian countries hot destinations for Chinese tourists, it said.

Northern European countries, which offer winter-themed activities such as aurora hunting and winter sports, have also attracted more Chinese tourists after the winter tourism boom of Harbin in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, with the local hotel search volume increasing twofold month-on-month.

Meanwhile, a recent survey conducted by another online travel agency Tongcheng Travel   showed that more than 60 percent of respondents say they plan to take a few cross-border trips in 2024, and it also said that the outbound tourism market will witness a rapid recovery due to the improved productivity and increasing confidence in consumption.

Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions are among the most popular overseas destinations for travelers from Chinese mainland, according to the Qunar. 

Some destination countries are competing for Chinese tourists and anticipate an unprecedented resurgence in tourists. For example, after Martin Niederger, director of the Swiss Tourism Bureau said in Chinese that Switzerland applied to join Harbin's cultural tourism competition, the flight search volume for Zurich doubled compared to the previous period. 

In addition, the Qatar tourism authority said they are looking forward to meeting Chinese tourists during the Spring Festival holidays, and welcome them to see giant pandas, and Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown has arranged lion and dragon dances for Chinese guests.

While millions of Chinese have decided to embark on journeys to explore the world and the traveling spree during this period is expected to drive a global tourism boom, some Western media have claimed that "the Chinese pullback has erased $129 billion from global tourism," citing figures from international aviation analytics firm Cirium and hyped a much slower recovery of outbound airline capacity from China has disappointed airline executives, tourism officials and luxury store owners.

In a recent report, Bloomberg said that Chinese travelers, once the world's biggest spenders on overseas trips, have been staying close to home since the country lifted its pandemic border restrictions a year ago.

However, surge in air tickets and hotel searches and bookings and the enthusiastic expectations have refuted such claims.

It is said that flight routes to Europe have recovered to 90 percent of 2019 levels. The number of hotel searches for four Nordic countries--Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden has doubled month-on-month, and outbound travel destinations have expanded to 100 cities in Europe.

Search volume on Tongcheng Travel for international air tickets between February 8 and 17 increased by seven times year-on-year, consultation volume for outbound group tour products has also exceeded that of 2019. 

Meanwhile, China's simplification of visa application process and unilateral visa-free policies for foreign travelers also have given an important boost to inbound and outbound travels. Countries having implemented visa-free policies for Chinese travelers including Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore have seen a significant increase in tourism popularity during the period. told the Global Times on Tuesday that as of January 13, the company's outbound and inbound travel orders have increased significantly by more than 10 times compared to the same period last year

Data from Qunar showed that nearly 80 percent of the tourists who traveled to these three countries have already booked high-end or luxury hotels before the Spring Festival break. One tourist booked a luxury hotel in Phuket, Thailand for a duration of 21 days on the Qunar platform.