The Return of the Outbound Chinese Traveler

DidaTravel’s Chief Strategy Officer discusses the outlook for China, the new Chinese traveler, and opportunities for the global tours and attractions market

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Chinese travelers are gradually returning to global markets, but the types of things they’re looking for have changed. 

Recently at Arival 360 | Berlin 2023 Eric Zhuang, Chief Strategy Officer of Asia-based B2B travel company DidaTravel, shared his insights on the tours and activities market for travelers from China.  

“Right now I see quite a lot of big opportunities in the market because the supply chain needs to be re-formed, and also a lot of clients have the change in consumer behaviors, booking patterns… a lot of new things happening in the market,” shares Zhuang.

DidaTravel’s Eric Zhuang discusses the return of Chinese travelers to global markets with Arival editor Janelle Visser at Arival 360 | Berlin 2023

Tour operators hoping to attract Chinese travelers should consider the shifting preference towards smaller group travel, Zhuang advises. “Big group travel will be decreasing quite a lot, a lot of small groups and FIT travelers will be coming more and more,” says Zhuang, “so right now if you want to design a product it will need to be shifted from this big group mindset.”

Of course, the big question regarding Chinese travelers is when they’re coming back. Zhuang sees Chinese travelers returning already to Southeast Asia, Japan and Korea this spring, with regional travel peaking in summer. Long-haul travel to destinations like Europe and North America will likely pick up towards the second half of the year. A return to pre-pandemic levels, however, likely won’t occur until next year, Zhuang predicts.

“The majority of people will still go to the top destinations of pre-Covid time,” he observes,
“but the things they want to do will be quite different… they tend to book a lot of in-destination experiences.”

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