With the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and their stringent curbs on tourism behind us, inbound industry looking to market, promote and sell.
But there’s a hitch. The host destination for the Winter Olympics also commits to staging the Paralympics, which requires an infrastructure of its own. So, while the Winter Olympics ended on February 13th, the Paralympics did not start until Friday, March 4th and end on March 13th.
Somehow, the dates seemed to have given credence to a notion that international travel to the country would begin to restart in the spring—now just a few weeks away.
This unsupported belief seems to have confounded enough people in the international tourism industry that China’s National Immigration Administration took the step of saying it will continue its path of imposing strict restrictions on such travel because the COVID-19 crisis is still a concern and that cross-border travel posed “great security risks.”
As reported by Reuters—it seems to have been the only western news outlet to have covered the story—the government said in a statement on social media that it will “normally issue passports” for individuals who need to travel abroad for study, employment, or business. Not for travel. In other words, the situation remains the same, even if rumors that the government would issue passports to individuals wanting to travel abroad for leisure were false.
In fact, Reuters reported that the Immigration Administration has suspended the issuance of new common passports for individuals who intend to go abroad for non-urgent matters.
Providing INBOUND with a reality check and some clarity on the matter was Z.J. Tong, president of Chicago-based ChinaPro Marketing Partners and an acknowledged authority on issues regarding the Chinese travel market, told us this: “What the news is saying is a response from the government since a lot of people are speculating that the travel ban will be loosened after the Olympics. At the moment, there has not been any new update regarding when international travel will be resumed for China. We started seeing countries like Australia, Denmark and UK, etc. to abandon their restrictive travel policies. As the world opens up, it’s a matter of time for China to reopen. But will we see that for this summer? I don’t know yet.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese Domestic Market is killing it. China’s domestic tourism market continued to rebound during the recent Spring Festival holiday, with people seeking higher-quality tourism and leisure activities and more consumers in lower-tier cities and rural areas entering the market.
As reported by eTurboNews, the head of the China Tourism Academy, China’s tourism market performed better than expected during the 2022 seven-day Spring Festival travel rush, also known as Chunyun, as both city and rural residents found new destinations for their trips. Spring Festival holiday travel also generated tourism revenue of 289.2 billion yuan (about $45.4 billion), according to China‘s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Both numbers respectively recovered to 73.9 percent and 56.3 percent of the levels seen in the same holiday of 2019, before the global COVID-19 pandemic.