In anticipation of the Golden Week holiday stretch, Trip.com, one of China’s leading travel service providers, noted a phenomenal surge in Chinese travelers venturing abroad. This rush significantly raises the bar previously set before the COVID-19 pandemic clamped down global travel, marking the most massive exodus from China seen in recent years. Interestingly, despite experiencing a slowdown of their domestic economy, Chinese travelers remain buoyant and optimistic.
The travel trends highlighted by Trip.com reveal that the United Kingdom and South Korea top the list of international destinations preferred by Chinese tourists, along with Thailand, Singapore, and Australia. These destinations registered a remarkable increase in bookings, escalating up to 20 times in comparison to the previous Golden Week in 2022.
The Golden Week holiday buzz is perfectly timed with the vibrant Mid-Autumn Festival and China’s National Day, making it an ideal period for Chinese nationals to embark on their travel adventures. Indeed, according to Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com, Chinese tourists’ tastes have evolved over recent years. Now, they’re keen on seeking unique experiences, spending more quality time exploring their chosen destinations, and even trekking off the beaten path. This trend is proven by the rise of bookings in less popular destinations such as Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan.
Sun commented, “Buzzing from our surveys and the observed behavioral changes, it’s evident that travelers yearn for more than just visiting popular spots. They thirst for extraordinary experiences in iconic places and crave the thrill of straying from the conventional path.”
Interestingly, domestic travel within China has also witnessed resurgence. As per Trip.com’s data, bookings for domestic travel swelled by four times compared to the previous Golden Week. Notably, even at the height of China’s stringent measures to curtail COVID-19 spread in 2020, nearly 637 million Chinese chose to travel within the country during the Golden Week holiday.
The introduction of visa exemptions for Chinese and Kazakh citizens by Thailand, valid from September 25, 2023, till February 29, 2024, significantly impacted the tourism landscape. On September 25 alone, nearly 10,988 Chinese tourists were noted to have arrived in Thailand, and the numbers continued to swell. These impressive count gave the Thai government the needed boost to their plans to stimulate the economy and rejuvenate the tourism sector.
Furthermore, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Thailand acknowledged the visa exemption policy’s noticeable uptick. Since its announcement, related discussions have significantly emerged among Chinese citizens, thereby causing a substantial influx on Thailand’s tourism websites. Travel plans are being booked left and right for trips slated in October, with over 650,000 bookings already made.
International media have been closely monitoring these rapid developments in Thailand’s tourism sector, which seem to captivate the interest of Chinese tourists. Tour offerings from key tour operators like Spring Tours from September 28 to October 1 are nearly sold out, attesting to this surge. Trip.com also echoed a familiar tune, highlighting an 800% increase in Thai destinations’ search rates on their website.
Amid these compelling shifts in the travel landscape, it’s apparent how the travel patterns of Chinese tourists have adapted to the changing times. Their undeniably strong, buoyant spirit certainly sets them on a path to explore new frontiers and gateways, proving once again that the Chinese are indeed world explorers at heart.