The Chinese Tourism Supply Chain
In 2019, 155 million Chinese tourists traveled outside of country, and they collectively spent $255 billion on their travels.
If you traveled anywhere in the world prior to 2020, you probably noticed a lot of Chinese tourists wherever you went.
Thanks to the country's rapidly growing economy and increasing wealth, more and more Chinese citizens were able able to afford international travel.
In 2019, 155 million Chinese tourists traveled outside of country, and they collectively spent $255 billion on their travels—or around a fifth of all global spending on international tourism, according to the World Tourism Organization.
But that all came to a screeching halt in 2020, when stringent anti-Covid measures by the Chinese government effectively shut down the outbound Chinese tourism industry for three years.
But a few weeks ago, China ended those measures so naturally, you might think that Chinese international tourism would quickly ramp back up.
But according to this article, it might not happen as fast as you’d think. Apparently, there was a whole supply chain that enabled tens of millions of Chinese tourists to travel abroad cheaply and easily—often in large groups.
One source says that it took 10 years of effort to get tour packages from China to Thailand down from 10,000 yuan ($1,455) to 2,000 yuan ($291). That included years of building relationships with airlines, hotels, local stores, etc.
But those relationships have frayed and it’s going to take time to rebuild them. Today, a seven-day trip to Bangkok from southwestern China costs 7,600 yuan—much more expensive than it was in 2019.
So, it looks like Chinese international tourism is probably going to start picking up, but it’s going to be some time before it’s back to pre-pandemic levels.
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