China Eases Group Tour Restrictions, Boosting Global Tourism After Pandemic Lull

by Mallika Khurana
China Eases Group Tour Restrictions, Boosting Global Tourism After Pandemic Lull

China’s recent decision to lift restrictions on group tours to several countries, including the U.S., Australia, South Korea, and Japan, marks a significant step towards boosting global tourism after three challenging years of pandemic-induced limitations. This move comes as a relief for the pressured global travel industry, which heavily relies on Chinese tourists as a major revenue source. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism in China expanded the list of approved countries for group travel, adding nearly 80 new destinations to the list. 

China Resumes Group Tours To Key Destinations

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The immediate effect of this decision is expected to be to invigorate international tourism, particularly in East Asia. It has long been popular among Chinese holidaymakers. This development enables Chinese tourists to embark on group travel to approximately 140 countries across the globe. However, several countries, including Canada and Ukraine, as well as some nations in South America and Africa, remain excluded from this easing of restrictions.

Before the pandemic, Chinese tourists were a driving force in the international travel sector. As per the Live Mint reports, they spent a staggering $255 billion overseas in 2019 alone. However, due to the pandemic, the absence of Chinese tourists has led to financial distress for tourism-dependent businesses worldwide. The resumption of group tours offers a ray of hope for these businesses, particularly in countries that have been highly dependent on Chinese tourists.

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Global Tourism Gets A Boost

China lifts ban
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As per reports by Live Mint, Japan witnessed a partial recovery in tourist arrivals in June, reaching 72% of 2019 levels. However, the number of Chinese travellers in this statistic was only 24%. It underscores the journey that lies ahead to restore tourism flows to pre-pandemic levels. While this reopening of group tours is a positive step, it’s important to note that challenges remain.  Many Chinese households are still dealing with economic uncertainties, which could affect their travel plans. 

In countries like Australia and South Korea, the return of Chinese tourists is eagerly anticipated. In Australia, Chinese tour groups accounted for a significant portion of tourism spending before the pandemic. Similarly, South Korea has high hopes for the revival of Chinese group tours, suspended even before the pandemic due to political reasons. The recent surge in shares of companies expected to benefit from increased Chinese tourism reflects the positive sentiment surrounding this development.

This positive trend holds the promise of revitalising the global tourism industry and fostering greater cross-cultural connections.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva