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China’s thriving outbound tourism contributes to global economic recovery

Chinese tourists experience the charm of Antarctica. (Photo by Natalia Sabrina)
Chinese tourists experience the charm of Antarctica. (Photo by Natalia Sabrina) (PRNewsfoto/People's Daily)

During the recent Chinese New Year holiday, China witnessed a significant increase in outbound tourism, with 3.6 million overseas trips. This surge not only boosts global economic recovery but also highlights the growing interest in cultural exploration and the impact of visa-free policies on travel preferences.

The past Chinese New Year holiday just witnessed a surge in China’s outbound tourism. According to statistics released by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, around 3.6 million overseas trips were made by Chinese tourists during the holiday.

International observers said that this increase has not only contributed to the growth of the international tourism industry, but also provided a boost to the global economic recovery.

On the second day of the Chinese New Year, the Siam Square, a shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand, was crowded with tourists. Xiaolan, a tourist from Shanghai, told People’s Daily that there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people travelling to Thailand ever since Thailand announced a five-month visa-free policy for Chinese tourists last September.

“I am planning a trip to Malaysia in a few days. It’s much easier to travel abroad nowadays,” Xiaolan said.

To attract more Chinese tourists, several Southeast Asian countries have successively implemented visa-free policies.

Starting from Dec. 1, 2023, Malaysia has implemented a 30-day visa-free policy for Chinese citizens. On Jan. 28 this year, China and Thailand signed an agreement on visa exemption for holders of ordinary passports, which will officially take effect on March 1.

On Feb. 9, an agreement between China and Singapore on visa exemption for holders of ordinary passports officially took effect. On that day, many Chinese tourists entered Singapore, experiencing the convenience brought by the visa-free policy. During the Chinese New Year, Singapore’s landmark Gardens by the Bay specifically hosted a special lantern fair, attracting many Chinese tourists.

Egypt was one of the main destinations for Chinese tourists during the Chinese New Year holiday. On Feb. 10, a special ceremony was held at the Cairo International Airport to welcome Chinese tourists spending the Chinese New Year in Egypt.

Ibrahim, marketing manager of a travel agency in Egypt, said that Chinese outbound tourism has brought tremendous benefits to his company.

“Compared to the same period last year, the number of Chinese tourists we received from late January to early February has surged four-fold. Everyone in our company was happy to see the sudden increase,” he noted.

In mid-January, China announced unilateral visa-free treatment for Switzerland, and Switzerland also provided visa convenience for Chinese citizens and companies investing in Switzerland.

Hannah, a coach at a skiing school in Davos, Switzerland, said that Davos attracts many Chinese skiing enthusiasts every year.

“Chinese skiing enthusiasts are friendly, kind, and passionate about skiing,” Hannah said. With the increased convenience of travel between the two countries, she looks forward to experiencing ski resorts in China.

According to the World Travel Market Global Travel Report, the value of China’s outbound tourism is projected to increase by 131 percent from 2024 to 2033.

Thai government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke said that with the ThailandChina visa exemption agreement set to take effect on March 1, it is expected that more Chinese tourists will choose Thailand as their destination. This will further boost the growth of Thailand’s tourism industry and bring more vitality to the country’s economic development.

Bojan Lalic, director of the Institute for Belt and Road Studies in Belgrade, noted that since the visa exemption policy between Serbia and China came into effect in 2017, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Serbia has been continuously increasing, promoting economic development and cultural exchanges between the two countries.

He said China ranks among the top in terms of outbound tourism, and has contributed to the economic development of relevant countries.

“Since last year, China’s outbound tourism has been steadily recovering. This is a clear testament to the vitality of the Chinese economy and adds momentum to the global tourism industry and economic recovery. We look forward to more Chinese tourists visiting our country,” Lalic said.

Chinese tourists check in at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand during the Chinese New Year holiday. (Photo by Bai Yuanqi/People's Daily)

Chinese tourists check in at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand during the Chinese New Year holiday. (Photo by Bai Yuanqi/People’s Daily) (PRNewsfoto/People’s Daily)

In recent years, Chinese tourists have become more diverse and individualized in their outbound travel preferences and demands. They now place greater emphasis on experiencing the natural environment, cultural history, and local lifestyle of their destinations.

Li, who traveled to Egypt from China’s Sichuan province during the Chinese New Year holiday, said she spent two days at the Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

Liu, who works in Beijing, chose to have a trip to France during the Chinese New Year holiday and spent the entire vacation in Paris.

“I saw the romantic Seine River and experienced history at the Palace of Versailles and the Arc de Triomphe,” Liu said. This trip allowed him to feel a resonance between Chinese and French cultures, making it an unforgettable cultural and artistic journey.

Harry Hwang, director of the Regional Department for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations World Tourism Organization, noted that in recent years, Chinese tourists have placed a greater emphasis on travel experiences. Chinese tourists are now more interested in exploring the attractions, cultural heritage, and history of different countries and regions, which indirectly contributes to the preservation of local cultural heritage.

 

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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