Research Insights Key barometers of Chinese travel and its emerging behavioral and spending patterns

Key barometers of Chinese travel and its emerging behavioral and spending patterns

September 2023
Phocuswright Research

Although outbound travel grabs headlines, the key barometers of Chinese travel and its emerging behavioral and spending patterns are found within its vast borders. Because of COVID-19's persistent impacts from 2020-2022, 2019 remains the revival benchmark.

Chinese travelers made 6 billion domestic trips in 2019. This more than halved to 2.8 billion in 2020, followed by a rebound to 3.4 billion in 2021 and a further downturn to 2.6 billion in 2022. With travel restrictions removed, the China Tourism Academy forecasts 5.5 billion trips in 2023, or 92% of the 2019 total.

Phocuswright Chart: China Travel Bookings
(Click image to view a larger version.)

According to Phocuswright’s travel research report China Travel Market Report 2022-2026, gross travel bookings are forecast to increase by 72% to reach $153.7 billion in 2023. Here are key factors that will contribute to China’s growth:

  • China's mobile-centric consumer market is in a perpetual state of evolution powered by intelligent app technologies. This radiates into the travel economy, with new trends and behaviors continually developing and diversifying. China's online travel infrastructure is driven by mobile bookings and cashless transactions.
  • Its airlines are aggressive competitors in regional markets and are adding home-built aircraft to their fleets.
  • The country's high-speed rail network is unmatched in size and is rolling out faster trains with enhanced comforts.
  • The car rental segment is scaling rapidly and dovetails with consumers' passion for mobile-booked ride hailing.
  • The hotel pipeline is re-activating with new budget, mid-range and luxury openings in cities nationwide.
  • MICE activity is strengthening, and the cruise segment is entering a new era of China-made cruise ships.

Phocuswright’s China Travel Market Report 2022-2026 provides a comprehensive view of the China travel market, including detailed market sizing and projections, distribution trends, analysis of major travel segments, key developments and more.

This report is part of the Asia Pacific Travel Market Report 2022-2026 series, which includes all of the following publications (available now or publishing soon):

  • Asia Pacific Travel Market Report 2022-2026
  • Australia-New Zealand Travel Market Report 2022-2026
  • China Travel Market Report 2022-2026
  • India Travel Market Report 2022-2026
  • Japan Travel Market Report 2022-2026
  • Southeast Asia Travel Market Report 2022-2026
  • Northeast Asia Travel Market Report 2022-2026
  • Asia Pacific Travel Market Data Sheet 2022-2026

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