More People Are Booking Trips to Chinese Mainland With the Resumption of Foreign Visa Applications

An influx of bookings to the Chinese mainland

beijing unsplash stock china forbidden city templePhoto by Ling Tang on Unsplash

It’s been a month since the Chinese mainland resumed issuing all types of visas for foreign nationals, which came into effect on March 15. The widely welcomed move saw an influx of bookings, as travelers sought to rediscover China once again.

Analysis of Trip.com data shows that international travelers’ interest in the Chinese mainland increased significantly in the last few weeks compared to the same period in 2019.

Looking at the travel period of 15 March 2023 to 14 April 2023, international users searching for hotels in the Chinese mainland on Trip.com was up 126% compared to the same period in 2019, with a seven-fold increase on 2022 levels.

Chinese mainland hotel bookings by international travelers also followed the same trend, rising by a third (32%) compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Despite flights operating to the Chinese mainland recovering year-on-year, bookings are still recovering, sitting around a quarter (26%) below 2019 levels due to constrained supply.

UK and US travelers showed an increasing interest in visiting the Chinese mainland

Travelers from Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, the UK, the US, Japan, and Singapore made the most flight bookings to the Chinese mainland last month, confirming that pent-up demand for travel to the region is being realized.

These markets have evolved since the pandemic, with the destinations making the most Chinese mainland flight bookings in 2019 being Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, and Australia.

Interestingly, neither the UK nor the US did not feature in the top list for flight bookings to the Chinese mainland pre-pandemic, but in the last month have shown significant growth for inbound travel to the region.

Leisure destinations are all the rage

Data shows that travelers are also keen to re-explore China’s most famous tourism hotspots, with Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou being the most popular flight destinations – the same as in 2019. The more leisure-oriented cities of Xiamen, the southeast beach city, and Chengdu, home of the Giant Panda, have also seen encouraging inbound growth, rising to fourth and fifth, respectively, as the industry continues to see growth in the premium leisure sector.

Travelers turned to last-minute bookings throughout the pandemic due to ever-changing travel restrictions, but the latest data shows this has now reverted beyond pre-pandemic levels.

Back in 2019, Trip.com users booked their hotel stays around four days in advance of their stay; however, data from the last month shows that the 2023 booking window has grown to six days, as customers gain confidence in the market and look to get value for money.

The same trend can be seen for those booking air travel, with Trip.com travelers now booking flights 15 days in advance – up from 14 days pre-pandemic.

These encouraging figures are echoed across the Asia-Pacific region, with bookings to Japan and Korea also recording strong year-on-year growth.

Source: Trip.com

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