Official Post by Travelport
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LANGLEY, UK, 26 April 2023 – Travelport, a global technology company that powers bookings for hundreds of thousands of travel suppliers worldwide, today released the below trend data highlighting the resurgence of outbound travel from mainland China. Demand has continued to rise leading up to Chinese Labor Day (May 1), historically one of the most popular times for tourists from mainland China to travel.
Overall Outbound Travel Trends
On December 27, the Chinese government made a much-anticipated announcement: travelers arriving to China from January 8th would no longer have to quarantine. On the day of the announcement, outbound flight bookings from mainland China increased by 247% when compared to the same day the previous month.
Prior to the pandemic, China had the most travelers visiting destinations outside of their home country. According to research conducted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the China Tourism Academy1, approximately 150 million Chinese tourists traveled internationally in 2019, spending $277 billion on global tourism. With quarantine restrictions now lifted, the first quarter of 2023 saw outbound bookings from mainland China increase by 331% compared to last year. However, mainland China is still only at 21% of its 2019 outbound booking levels. According to OAG2, international airline capacity is at 37% of its April 2019 availability.
According to a recent McKinsey survey3, pent-up demand for outbound travel from mainland China is massive, with 40% of survey respondents wanting to travel and prioritizing international destinations for their next trip. According to Travelport data, the top five destinations that travelers from mainland China have booked trips to in 2023 are:
One major difference in 2023 travel is that tourists from mainland China are taking shorter trips, with the percent of 2 day and 3-4 day trips both increasing. This may explain why closer destinations, such as Hong Kong and Macau, claim the number one and two spots. Additionally, of all the flight options available from mainland China, the majority (71%) are bound for Asia Pacific.
Chinese Labor Day
Labor Day in China is celebrated as an annual public holiday on May 1. In recent years, the holiday has been expanded to include a three-day break, making it one of the most popular times of the year to travel. April 24 through May 7 (the week of Labor Day and the week prior) tend to be the most ideal dates for travelers to get away.
Due to pent up demand, outbound travel from mainland China during this year’s holiday period has reached a three-year high. When compared against last year alone, travel bookings for these dates have increased by 470%. Additionally, unlike the rest of the year, these dates see a noticeable spike in trips longer than 10 days, which may explain why the top destinations for these travel dates are further afield. Long haul locales such as United Kingdom and Canada have all entered the top 10 for these dates only, and the United States claims the number two spot.
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Notes to Editors:
Travelport is a global technology company that powers bookings for hundreds of thousands of travel suppliers worldwide. Buyers and sellers of travel are connected by the company’s next generation marketplace, Travelport+, which simplifies how brands connect, upgrades how travel is sold, and enables modern digital retailing. Headquartered in London, United Kingdom and operating in more than 165 countries around the world, Travelport is focused on driving innovation that simplifies the complex travel ecosystem.