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China Outbound Tourism to Fully Rebound by Late 2024

Alan Woinski
September 20th, 2023 at 7:44 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • The World Travel & Tourism Council predicts that it will take about a year for popular tourist destinations worldwide to see a significant return of Chinese visitors, with challenges like visa and passport difficulties slowing the process.
  • IPK’s survey indicates a strong travel recovery from China, particularly to Europe, in 2024, with around 50% of respondents planning to travel abroad in the next year. Europe is the preferred destination, while travel to the US is less frequent due to limited flight options and geopolitical factors.
  • Dusit International announces the launch of two new hotel brands, Dusit Collection and Devarana – Dusit Retreats, aiming to offer unique and authentic travel experiences and expand into untapped markets. Additionally, Lemon Tree Hotels opens a new property in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, featuring suites and rooms, a restaurant, bar, banquets, and a fitness center.

The World Travel & Tourism Council is predicting it will be a year before the world’s tourist hotspots see a massive return of Chinese visitors. The WTTC said difficulties in getting visas and passports are one key bottleneck. The WTTC predicts that Chinese cross-border travel could return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024 and steadily grow from there. Another factor limiting the speed of the nation’s cross-border travel recovery is heightened fuel costs for foreign carriers unable to fly across Russian airspace, translating into higher fares. Embassies in China have not staffed back up to levels to meet the sudden exploding demand for visas. Bloomberg described it as a retarded recovery that is being felt from the Philippines to Portugal. The WTTC is still predicting that China will dethrone the US as the world’s largest travel and tourism market within the next decade.

IPK’s latest survey shows strong travel recovery from China, particularly towards Europe, in 2024. They believe China’s growing desire for more international trips over the next 12 months lays a solid foundation for a strong recovery in 2024. Compared with 2019, China’s outbound travel still lags massively, with no recovery in sight. According to IPK’s survey, around 50% of those interviewed aim to travel abroad over the next 12 months, and if possible, more than in the past. Only single-digit percentages of respondents intend to take fewer outbound trips or none at all. According to the survey, preferred destinations are likely to be in Europe, followed by trips within Asia. Travel to the US will remain a less frequent choice due to a lack of flight options and geopolitical reasons. Over 80% of the Chinese interviewees intend to holiday abroad over the next 12 months. About 30% plan a business trip abroad over the next 12 months.

Visitor arrivals to Macau increased by 16.7% month on month in August to more than 3.22 million. That is the highest monthly visitor arrivals so far this year and since the pandemic hit. The number of important overnight visitors in August also increased by 9.5% from the previous month to approximately 1.56 million people, with same-day visitors increasing by 25% to 1.65 million. For the first eight months of 2023, visitor arrivals totaled 17.6 million, and overnight visitors numbered 9.1 million. As for the foreign visitor total that the Macau government is pushing with little success, they welcomed nearly 130,000 in August, only 4% of the total visitor tally. The Philippines, India, Indonesia, and Japan are the source markets. The number of visitors from Mainland China was 2,322,580 in August.

Dusit International announced the expansion of its hotel brand lineup by launching two new brands: Dusit Collection and Devarana – Dusit Retreats. Building on the strength of Dusit’s existing portfolio, the new brands are expected to extend Dusit’s reach across the lodging spectrum to deliver fresh and immersive experiences for guests. They also open new avenues for Dusit to enter untapped markets, furthering its global expansion objectives. Dusit Collection is expected to directly tap into the rising global demand for unique and authentic travel experiences. It represents a sophisticated and personalized approach to property development, service, and guest engagement. Dusit Collection will focus on the upper upscale and luxury segments, allowing owners of iconic properties to safeguard the individuality and charm of their establishments while seamlessly integrating into the Dusit family without rebranding or extensive renovations. Dusit is exploring opportunities for Dusit Collection from Asia to the Middle East to Europe and beyond. The second new brand is reimagining its former luxury brand, Devarana, which has been renamed Devarana – Dusit Retreats. This fully embraces the success of Dusit’s group-wide wellness concept, Devarana Wellness. The first property under it will be a rebranding of one of Dusit’s existing properties in China, slated to open in October. Dusit expects to sign multiple Devarana – Dusit Retreats before the end of the year.

The newest Grande Centre Point hotel is near several of Bangkok, Thailand’s cultural landmarks and natural attractions. The Grande Centre Point Surawong is located on Surawong Street’s commercial district. The 399 rooms and suites are decorated in a contemporary Thai style. The hotel sits on a heritage site. It includes a Fit Club, a Sky pool with private cabanas, a games room, all-day dining at a Chinese, Hong Kong, Yaowarat restaurant, and the Let’s Relax Spa. On the rooftop will be the Bangrak Grill restaurant.

Mahindra Holidays and Resorts has signed a memorandum of understanding to establish Club Mahindra Resorts in Uttarakhand. The estimated investment will be approximately 10 billion rupees over the next few years.

ITC Hotel Group’s Fortune Hotels brand announced signing a management agreement with Arete Services Private Limited for an upscale hotel in Kevadia (Ekta Nagar), Gujarat. The upscale 144-room hotel is located in the heart of the city, on the banks of the sacred Narmada River, and is expected to open its doors to guests by the end of the year. Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited, a Gujarat government subsidiary, owns the hotel. Fortune Hotels plans to add 15 new properties with 1,500 rooms to its portfolio over the next two and a half years. This is their sixth signing of the year.

Indian Hotels Company Limited announced the opening of Taj The Trees, Mumbai. The hotel is nestled in the greenery overlooking the mangroves and the eastern shoreline. This is the fifth Taj hotel in Mumbai and is a partnership with the owner, Godrej Group. The hotel has 151 keys and is situated in a mixed-used development spread across 34 acres in an urban metropolis. The signature all-day diner is Shamiana, offering global cuisine and local favorites. The specialty restaurant is Nonya. The Mangrove Bar is on the roof and has a gin distillery. The banquet spaces open into a private courtyard garden, including a 7,000-square-foot ballroom. Recreational facilities include a gym, an infinity pool overlooking the Sculpture Park, a beauty salon, Niu& Nau, and the spa, J Wellness Circle. The hotel is 100% green power and is IGBC Platinum certified. With the addition of this hotel, IHCL will have 12 hotels in Mumbai, with two more under development.

Lemon Tree Hotels launched the Lemon Tree Hotel in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, with 24 suites and 20 rooms. The hotel will feature a multi-cuisine restaurant, Citrus Café, a recreation bar, banquets, and a fitness center. The suites open in the first phase and will have a separate living area. The rooms will be opened in the second phase during the current financial year, starting in April. This is the eighth property of the group in Uttarakhand.

Alan Woinski
September 20th, 2023 at 7:44 AM EDT

Companies: Devarana – Dusit Retreats, Dusit International, Fortune, ITC Hotels, Lemon Tree Hotels, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India, Taj, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd

Locations: Bangkok, China, Haridwar, Kevadia, Macau, Mumbai

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