Home World News China China’s inbound tourism market sees continuous pickup

China’s inbound tourism market sees continuous pickup

South Korean Tourists Pose For A Picture In A Scenic Area In Zhangjiajie
South Korean tourists pose for a picture in a scenic area in Zhangjiajie, central China's Hunan province, Feb. 29, 2024. (Photo by Wu Yongbing/People's Daily Online)

By Zhao Shan, 

To further promote Chinese-foreign personnel exchanges, China has adopted a visa-free policy for Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg on a trial basis, which is effective from March 14 to November 30 this year.

According to Tongcheng Research Institute, the research arm under Chinese online tourism service provider Tongcheng Travel, the six countries included in the visa-free policy this time have close tourism exchanges with China. In March, the average daily bookings of inbound air tickets from Austria increased by 70 percent compared to the January-February period, while that from Switzerland also went up by 52 percent compared to the January-February period.

In recent times, China has been continuously expanding its visa-free “circle of friends,” and the tourism industry is expecting a significant increase in tourist orders from visa-free countries visiting China in the near future.

The head of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently noted that China’s recent unilateral visa-free policies for multiple countries are an important measure to help the global tourism industry recover. 

According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, outbound and inbound tourism from China is expected to proliferate in 2024 due to visa facilitation and increased airline capacity.

The international cruise ship Zuiderdam recently arrived at Dalian port in northeast China’s Liaoning province. It was the first international cruise ship to visit a city in northeast China since China resumed international cruise transportation in September last year. 

The cruise ship carried over 2,000 tourists from 47 countries and regions to Dalian, who later visited various attractions in the city, including ocean parks, city squares and featured blocks.

Recently, Zhengzhou, central China’s Henan province welcomed the first batch of tourists from Australia after the Spring Festival, most of whom came to Henan for the first time. 

In recent years, the Department of Culture and Tourism of Henan Province has been actively promoting the international tourism brand of the province. It has conducted systematic international promotion activities, built cultural brands for overseas markets and established a cooperation system for inbound tourism. Positive results have been achieved. 

In March, the province gradually welcomed thousands of tourists from countries and regions such as Australia, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Recently, the attractiveness of China’s tourism market has been continuously increasing, with a large number of South Korean tourists visiting Zhangjiajie, a famous tourist city in central China’s Hunan province. According to statistics, from early January to the end of February, Zhangjiajie received 98,000 inbound tourists, a 34-fold increase compared to the same period last year, with 42,000 of them from South Korea. 

It is reported that Zhangjiajie has been focusing on creating unique tourism products to continuously attract South Korean tourists. Taking into account their preference for scenic landscapes, Zhangjiajie has introduced international tourism products centering on its amazing natural landscapes. 

Given the similarities between China and South Korea in “filial piety culture,” Zhangjiajie has successfully made its name in the South Korean tourism market, earning praise among Korean tourists that taking parents on a trip to Zhangjiajie is an expression of filial piety.

In response to the rapidly recovering inbound tourism market, the tourism industry has taken swift action to enhance the appeal of Chinese tourism overseas. 

Recently, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism organized 13 regions across China, including Beijing and Shanghai, to participate in this year’s ITB Berlin, a tourism trade show considered one of the largest exhibitions in the global tourism industry.

The Chinese delegation became one of the highlights of the event. China Tourism Group Travel Services Co., Ltd. exhibited over 50 distinctive inbound tourism routes to Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, and other places, providing diverse options for different European customer segments. It also held in-depth discussions with more than 40 overseas travel agencies regarding customized tours, family trips, and group tours.

Xu Xiaolei, the Chief Brand Officer of China CYTS Tours Holding Co., Ltd., told People’s Daily that CYTS will continue to boost the inbound tourism market this year. 

“We will focus on addressing the pain points of inbound tourism, such as payment, internet access, translation, and tour guides. We will also explore simplified processes for overseas visa application centers, increase the promotion of tourism resources to overseas customers, expand our customer base, and make full use of resources such as multilingual websites developed by CYTS and specialized training for tour guides, so as to ensure the quality of our services,” Xu said.

Sun Bowen, executive secretary-general of a research institute under Chinese online travel agency Ctrip, said that Ctrip will leverage technology, international resources, talent development, and e-commerce support programs to enhance the convenience of inbound tourism. 

It is reported that on Ctrip’s international platform Trip.com, overseas tourists can make reservations for various inbound tourism products and services, including hotels, flights, train tickets, car rentals, airport transfers, attraction tickets, travel photography, dining, WiFi, and SIM cards. Currently, Trip.com provides services in 24 languages, covering 39 countries and regions.

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