September 29, 2023
BANGKOK – Trip.com said that the number of Chinese travellers heading to foreign countries had seen a big jump ahead of the Golden Week holiday period from September 29 to October 6.
Trip.com said that the United Kingdom and South Korea were the top two choices of Chinese tourists.
This is the biggest travel exodus from China since the Chinese government began permitting citizens to travel abroad after the Covid-19 pandemic, the travel service provider said. It added that Chinese travellers remained optimistic despite a slowdown in the domestic economy.
Trip.com’s data also highlights that the bookings for international travel trips preferred by Chinese tourists, including destinations like Thailand, Singapore, and Australia, had increased by up to 20 times compared to the Golden Week in 2022.
The long holiday, which encompasses the Mid-Autumn Festival and China’s National Day, is often used for travel by Chinese citizens,.
Jane Sun, the CEO of Trip.com, stated that over the past several years, travellers have been seeking unique experiences and spending more time at their travel destinations. Data indicates that the purchase of tours from private tour groups and bookings for less popular destinations, such as Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan, have also seen an increase.
“We have conducted surveys and observed significant changes, as we found that travellers not only want to explore popular spots but also seek experiences in iconic places and venture away from the old path,” Sun said.
Trip.com reports that domestic travel within China has also rebounded, with domestic travel bookings increasing fourfold compared to the previous Golden Week holiday.
Normally, the Golden Week holiday in China typically encourages millions of Chinese people to travel for tourism. For instance, in 2020, which was a year when China implemented strict measures to control Covid-19, approximately 637 million Chinese travelled within the country during the Golden Week holiday.
The implementation by Thailand of visa exemption, or visa-free travel, from September 25, 2023, to February 29, 2024, for Chinese and Kazakhstani passport holders has had a significant impact on tourism. On September 25 alone, nearly 10,988 Chinese tourists arrived in Thailand.
The number rose to 11,160 the following day. These numbers are considered quite high, giving the government confidence that these measures would stimulate the economy and revitalise the tourism sector as intended.
A report from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Thailand also revealed that as soon as the Thai government announced the visa exemption policy, there was a significant response from Chinese citizens. It turned into a hot topic in China, with a substantial increase in the number of visitors to Thai tourism websites. More than 650,000 bookings have already been made for travel in October.
International media outlets have also shown continuous interest in Thailand’s tourism news that has gained popularity among Chinese tourists, such as the surge in bookings for tours offered by companies like Spring Tours from September 28 to October 1, which are almost sold out.
Searches for Thai travel destinations on the Trip.com website had increased by 800%, the travel service provider said.