China expects international and domestic tourism to make a strong return this year just months after ending its zero-Covid policy.
After the government ended its Covid-19 protocols, which kept people home for almost three years, the China Tourism Academy believes the 2023 summer season will bring about a “full recovery”.
The China Tourism Academy, a Beijing-based research institution focused on the tourism industry, is optimistic a strong summer travel season will see billions of travellers visiting destinations around the country.
Around the world, many countries are already one or two years into the job of repairing their tourism industries and rebuilding reputations as safe, desirable destinations. Following the end of its strict Covid-19 policies, China will now join in on this work. However, the academy appears confident it can turn things around in a single summer.
“It is expected that the tourism market will enter a new channel of expected strengthening in the second quarter, and the summer vacation is expected to usher in a full recovery,” the report said.
Tourism companies in China were hit hard during the pandemic as the country imposed some of the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions in the world. Following the end of its zero-Covid policies, domestic travel saw a surge, particularly around the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.
The academy forecast 4.55 billion domestic visitors, an increase of 80 per cent year-on-year. This would bring in around 4 trillion yuan, which is an increase of around 95 per cent year-on-year. However, this level of revenue is still 71 per cent of 2019 levels.
As for international tourism, data suggests numbers could be around 90 million. This would be double the number seen in 2022 but just under a third of pre-pandemic levels.
Similarly, countries abroad may have to wait a little longer to see Chinese travellers in 2019 numbers.
In 2019, China was Aotearoa’s second-largest market by arrivals, with 407,000 visitors. Of their $1.7 billion spend, $333m was spent in the regions.
However, Tourism New Zealand has said they only anticipate welcoming around 150,000 tourists from China in 2023.