Research Briefing | Jan 12, 2024

Chinese Outbound Travel to Gain Momentum in 2024

Chinese outbound travel finally restarted in 2023. This re-opening was keenly anticipated by global destinations, given the significance of China as an outbound market. Chinese outbound travel will stride further towards recovery in 2024. Capacity constraints that have impacted the outbound recovery to date, including limited flight connections and delays in passport and visa processing, eased somewhat in the second half of 2023 and will continue to do so.

What you will learn:

  • We anticipate that the number of international outbound trips taken by Chinese travellers in 2024 will roughly double relative to 2023. While a notable increase, this implies that Chinese outbound travel volumes will remain 22% below 2019 volumes.
  • Our expectation is that Chinese outbound visits will not fully recovery pre-pandemic levels until 2025. This represents a notably slower recovery than other large global source markets.
  • The Middle East will see the quickest recovery in arrivals from China among destination regions, with Chinese visits to the region to exceed pre-pandemic volumes in 2024, driven largely by travel to the United Arab Emirates.
  • Chinese travel to elsewhere in APAC (which receives the bulk of Chinese visits) will fully recover in 2025, as will Chinese outbound to Africa. Travel from China to Europe and the Americas will not recover pre-pandemic volumes until 2026.
  • Chinese outbound travel will catch-up with demand from other source markets and outpace visits from the rest of the world from 2026 onwards to once again be a major driver of global travel.
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