Home Outbound International China opens up to more destinations for outbound group tourism

China opens up to more destinations for outbound group tourism


China is resuming outbound group tourism to destinations including Japan, South Korea, Australia, the United States, Germany and Britain, its culture and tourism ministry said on Thursday.

The news cheered China’s outbound travel operators, which have struggled since 2020 with more than three years of pandemic-induced border closures before China finally dropped COVID-19 curbs late last year.

“It’s a milestone for the full resumption of the outbound travel, and will also strongly push the resumption of international flights, especially for Japan, Korea, the U.S.,” said Zhou Weihong, deputy general manager at Spring Tour, the travel arm of Shanghai-based Spring Group.

In the first quarter, Chinese tourism agencies recorded 318,600 outbound trips, with Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore among the top destinations. Though outbound travel only accounted for 1.58 per cent of the overall tourism market in terms of the number of people who travelled, official figures showed.

The release of this third list of destinations for outbound group tourism follows approvals in January and March this year. The first batch included 20 countries such as Thailand, Russia, Cuba and Argentina, while the second included 40 countries, among them Nepal, France, Portugal, Brazil.

Shares in South Korean firms with large exposure to Chinese travel demand jumped on the news. Two sources in South Korea’s travel industry told Reuters it was the first time group tours from China would be allowed since its government unofficially limited the sale of group tour products to South Korea following a 2016 dispute over the deployment of a U.S. missile defence system.

China has never publicly acknowledged such a limit. Shares in casino operators Grand Korea Leisure and Paradise rose 21 per cent and 17.4 per cent respectively, as the casinos cater to foreign visitors. Cosmetics firms such as AmorePacific Group and Cosmax and retailers such as Shinsegae saw shares jump on hopes for increased sales to Chinese travellers.

Source: Reuters