China travellers back in early 2021

HAMBURG, 24 November 2020: China will reclaim its top position as the primary source market for international tourism during 2021 while November travel figures confirm the restart of international travel from China according to a report released by COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute.

COTRI’s latest assessment suggests travellers from mainland China “can be expected to be responsible for more than a million border crossings, with the Special Administrative Region Macau as the main destination” by the end of the year.

But COTRI claims a number of other countries in Asia are now posed to welcome Chinese visitors in early 2021, including Thailand, Laos, Japan and Singapore. China has yet to officially clear restrictions that prevent tour companies from resuming outbound tour sales.

COTRI CEO Prof Dr Wolfgang Georg Arlt stated at the weekend: “Obviously China is the ‘tallest within a group of dwarfs’ in this development.  However, it is important to notice that the often-cited ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ looks very much like a Chinese lantern.”

The research agency forecasts that 2020 will close with 18 million Chinese having made international trips, but most of them occurred in January before Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic.

For 2021 COTRI estimates Chinese citizens will make around 100 million international trips.

“There are many million Chinese waiting eagerly to travel abroad again. With Covid-19 almost defeated in East Asia and vaccines hopefully becoming available in a few weeks, we should see a wave of Chinese outbound travellers starting Chinese New Year (12 February 2021) travelling to Asia and after Easter (4 April) to Europe.”

But he warned it would take time to get visa regimes and air connections back on track.

“That’s why COTRI forecasts about 100 million trips in 2021. In 2022 however, we are very likely to see a new record number of outbound trips.”

COTRI believes China will recover quicker than other source markets and Chinese travellers will look for new, less crowded and friendly destinations offering quality products adapted to their specific demands, which will be different in post-virus times compared to previous years.

“Destinations and service providers better start now to prepare for these ‘new’ Chinese guests.

COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, based in Hamburg and Beijing, is one of the leading research institutions for the Chinese outbound market and has been working for companies and governments around the world for more than 15 years, including training more than 2,000 tourism practitioners.

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