China expects sharp rebound in tourism this year

China expects sharp rebound in tourism this year
FILE PHOTO: Tourists stand near a Chinese national flag at a tourist site during the National Day holiday, in the outskirts of Beijing, China on Oct 2, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Tingshu Wang)

BEIJING: China expects its tourism market to flourish this year, starting with a busy and robust summer travel season as travellers flock to vacation destinations after the government ended its zero-COVID policy that kept people home for almost three years.

Domestic tourism revenue in 2023 could reach about 4 trillion yuan (US$580.8 billion), a year-on-year increase of about 95 per cent, and recover to about 71 per cent of 2019 levels, according to data from the China Tourism Academy.

Domestic tourist numbers are expected to reach around 4.55 billion in 2023, up 80 per cent year-on-year, while inbound and outbound tourist numbers are seen at more than 90 million, doubling year-on-year and recovering to 31.5 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

In 2022, the number of domestic tourists nationwide was 25.3 billion, down 22.1 per cent year-on-year, according to the data.

“It is expected that the tourism market will enter a new channel of expected strengthening in the second quarter, and the summer vacation is expected to usher in a full recovery,” the report said.

Travel service providers were hit particularly hard during the pandemic. After China scrapped its stringent COVID policies, travel across the country ramped up, especially during the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, which saw a surge in trips.

Source: Reuters/ga