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Will 2023 Bring China's Tourism Recovery?


This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Katharina Buchholz


Chinese tourist won't have to quarantine anymore upon returning to their home country starting January 8. The policy change that is part of China abandoning its zero Covid strategy is expected to be a significant turning point for destinations still sorely missing Chinese visitors and more so, their holiday spending.


As seen in data by the UN World Tourism Organization, expenditures of outbound travelers from China were still down 58 percent on average from 2019 as of June 2022. This latest 2022 figure is hardly an improvement from the two previous pandemic years which saw outbound tourism slump by 49 percent and 61 percent, respectively, compared with pre-pandemic levels. The second biggest spender in international tourism, the United States, is already well on the path of tourism recovery, while European top 5 spenders Germany and France are almost back at 2019 spending levels. 2022 data for the United Kingdom was still unavailable.


Chinese international travelers had been the world’s biggest tourism spenders for a while before the pandemic crashed international tourism markets. Their relative absence in international travel has been tearing a large hole in international tourism receipts, which is most acutely felt by the country’s regional neighbors. All top destinations for Chinese travelers are within the region, starting with Thailand and also including Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam. Despite Chinese international tourism spending having more than halved, it is still matching U.S. spending, currently down 21 percent from its 2019 peak.


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