Outbound flight bookings surge from Mainland China: Trip.com Group

Trip.com Group recorded a 254 per cent increase in Mainland China’s outbound flight bookings on December 27 compared to the day before.

This follows mainland China’s decision to reopen borders as announced on December 27.

Outbound travel demand is expected to spike for the upcoming Chinese New Year break

Flights to Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand led the surge as the top five tourist destinations.

Flight bookings to Singapore leapt six-fold, followed by an average 400 per cent jump in airline ticket orders for the other four destinations. Longhaul flight bookings to the UK, the US and Australia also grew.

The top five most popular cities of departure were Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Hangzhou – there is also a spike in interest among overseas tourists looking to visit China.

In addition, bookings for inbound flights on December 27 rocketed 412 per cent from the same period on December 26, with Australia, Germany, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong as the largest sources of inbound travellers.

Passport issuance for business and tourism
The increased volume of travel orders comes as China’s National Immigration Administration announced on December 27 that starting January 8, 2023, it will handle Chinese citizens’ applications for ordinary passports for tourism, as well as resume permit issuance for mainland residents to visit Hong Kong for tourism and business purposes.

The news gave a boost to visa processing services. According to Ctrip platform, searches for outbound visas skyrocketed 300 per cent as soon as news of China’s border reopening broke, with those for an entry permit to enter Hong Kong soaring fivefold.

Over the past few months, visa applicants on Ctrip platform mostly comprised business travellers, however, after the removal of mandatory quarantine measures for inbound travellers was announced on the evening of December 26, customers who consulted Ctrip on visa matters did so primarily for tourism purposes.

Outbound travel boom expected for Chinese New Year
After China abolishes its quarantine restrictions for inbound visitors on January 8, 2023, the country will celebrate its traditional Chinese New Year holiday, a usual peak season for an outbound travel boom.

Searches for trips during this period to pre-pandemic tourist hot spots such as Japan, Thailand, South Korea, the US, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the UK have grown significantly – searches for package tour products during the festive break also soared six-fold.

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