Booming outbound travel reflects China’s consumer dynamism

by Alice

During the recently concluded May Day holiday, Chinese tourists flocked to global destinations in record numbers, underscoring the robustness of China’s consumption power.

According to a report from Fliggy, a leading travel platform in the country, bookings for travel services by Chinese tourists surged nearly 100 percent during the five-day holiday period from May 1 to 5, building on a rapid rebound observed last year.


The report highlighted a remarkable spike in overseas hotel bookings, up approximately 100 percent year-on-year, alongside a threefold increase in the booking value of overseas car rentals.


Moreover, the holiday witnessed a surge in international cruise passenger trips, with bookings soaring over 15 times from the previous year, as cruise ships rapidly resumed operations.


Data from online travel agency Group revealed that Chinese tourists ventured to nearly 200 countries and regions, spanning over 3,000 cities worldwide during the holiday period. Popular destinations included Hong Kong, Macao, countries in Southeast Asia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, as well as Middle Eastern countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which experienced rapid growth in Chinese tourist arrivals.

The resurgence of outbound travel aligns with China’s optimistic economic outlook and the gradual effectiveness of policy measures aimed at stimulating consumption, fostering a robust recovery in outbound tourism since the beginning of the year.

During the eight-day Spring Festival holiday in February, outbound tourism from China surged approximately 10 times year-on-year, reaching a record high in the past four years, according to Fliggy.

Anticipating a more diversified consumption pattern among Chinese tourists in 2024, travel platform forecasts an integration of outbound sightseeing with interests in concerts, sports events, and medical care.

This flourishing outbound travel trend underscores China’s pivotal role in bolstering consumption, which in turn propels domestic demand and overall economic growth.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that in the first quarter of the year, per capita disposable income of Chinese residents reached 11,539 yuan ($1,625.17), with per capita consumer spending reaching 7,299 yuan.

Analysts, such as Jiang Fei from Great Wall Securities, attribute the first-quarter surge in consumption to residents’ heightened enthusiasm for travel and tourism-related activities.

To further stimulate outbound tourism potential, China has inked mutual visa-free agreements with several nations this year, while also expanding international flight capacity.

Wang Guanhua, spokesperson for the NBS, emphasized the pivotal role of consumption in propelling and broadening domestic demand, citing China’s expansive consumer market with over 1.4 billion people as a source of vast potential and resilience.



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