(Yicai Global) March 31 -- In the run up to the Labor Day holiday and as outbound tourism picks up, Chinese travelers are showing an increasing desire to visit Europe.
Searches for accommodation in European countries between April 1 and May 15 exceeded the number in the same period of 2019, according to Airbnb data.
European carriers Swiss International Air Lines, Lufthansa, Air France, British Airways, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines have recently opened new flight routes to China to meet the growing demand.
“Europe is the biggest destination for outbound Chinese tourists,” Yang Jinsong, head of the Institute of International Tourism Development at the China Tourism Academy, told Yicai Global. “Chinese tourists are more attracted to destinations with higher purchasing power such as France, Germany, and Spain, which are major travel destinations in Europe.
“The market for outbound tourism during the May Day holiday is very hot, and the situation is optimistic based on feedback from online travel agencies,” Yang noted.
Most travel bookings for the Labor Day holiday made through internet travel agency Mafengwo are for Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia in Southeast Asia and Spain in Europe. Searches for outbound trips during the May Day holiday to these destinations soared more than 110 percent over the past week, Mafengwo data showed.
The number of outbound Chinese tourists depends on many factors, including the number of flights, the visa application process, and the recovery of the local tourism sector, Yang added.
“Many tourism-related workers in Europe quit their jobs because of the pandemic, and many of them have not yet returned,” Yang said. “If the number of people working in the tourism industry hasn’t resumed to the pre-pandemic level and many businesses haven’t reopened, the tourism industry will likely face difficulties in recovery.
“We can be optimistic about the recovery of outbound tourism to Europe, but should also be cautious,” he concluded.
Editors: Tang Shihua, Futura Costaglione