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China Flight Bookings Rise By Nearly 60% Ahead Of Lunar New Year

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The increase in demand for travel comes as China lifts quarantine restrictions for incoming travelers.

Trip.com has announced that it is experiencing an increase in demand for travel from mainland China following an announcement by the country’s government that it is abolishing quarantine restrictions for incoming travelers. The announcement comes on the verge of Lunar New Year, when demand for travel from China is typically at its peak, with demand for travel to countries in Southeast Asia being particularly high.

China to end quarantine restrictions for incoming travelers

COVID 19 test

Photo: Horth Rasur | Shutterstock

On December 26th of last year, China announced that it would be ending quarantine restrictions for incoming travelers following the abandonment of its zero-COVID policy. The change in policy took effect on January 8th of this year, and was followed almost immediately by an 83% increase in searches for flights from China and a 59% increase in flight bookings. The most popular destinations for Chinese tourists include Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


China’s decision to ease travel restrictions comes just in time for Lunar New Year, which takes place from January 21st to 27th this year and is considered to be one of the major holidays in Chinese culture. Overseas travel has increased by 540% compared to the same time last year, when zero-COVID travel restrictions were still in place. Unfortunately for travelers, the cost of travel has also increased by a factor of 32%.

Demand for travel to Southeast Asia on the rise

Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand hosts the world's third largest single building airport terminal

Photo: Sihasakprachum/Shutterstock

Another consequence of loosening restrictions and Lunar New Year rapidly approaching is a 1,026% increase in travel bookings to countries in Southeast Asia compared to last year. Countries that can expect to see an increased number of tourists this month include Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Malaysia in particular will see a 584% increase in tourists from China, while Singapore and Thailand will see an increase of 499% and 101%, respectively.

The recent trend comes as countries in Southeast Asia are eager to welcome back Chinese tourists. Cathay Pacific has significantly increased the frequency of flights between Singapore and China in recent weeks, while Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul personally waited at the gate to welcome Chinese tourists on the first post-pandemic flight from Xiamen to Bangkok.

However, some countries remain hesitant to abandon travel restrictions, citing the recent surge in COVID cases and deaths in China as cause for concern. As such, Japan and India will require travelers to present a negative PCR test in order to enter the country.

China’s decision to end quarantine restrictions for incoming travelers ultimately comes at the perfect time to revitalize the Chinese travel industry as tourists look to take advantage of the Lunar New Year holiday to go abroad. For many, this will be the first time leaving the country since the start of the pandemic, and while some destinations continue to hold onto the practice of testing incoming travelers, the vast majority of the world is eager to welcome tourists from China.

Source: The Guardian and PR Newswire

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