The days of Chinese travellers flying to Europe in droves may be on pause amid ongoing Covid restrictions, but they are still eager to travel — only that they are picking destinations closer to home such as Macau, Hainan and Sanya, ForwardKeys revealed.
Macau, in particular, has been a trending destination, ever since it opened to mainland China on 23 February.
While pre-Covid Macau was often part of a combined holiday destination with Hong Kong, due to safety concerns and travel restrictions, mainland Chinese travellers are now opting for Macau as "one single destination, and enjoying that experience at a slower pace,” says Nan Dai, China market expert at ForwardKeys.
In the first five months of 2021, Chinese travellers staying at a single destination for 3-5 nights increased by 32% from 2019. Meanwhile, shorter stays of 1-2 nights dropped by 30%.
In the first week of June, issued tickets for travel from mainland China to Macau reached nearly half (48%) of 2019’s level, while overall, outbound Chinese travel recovered only 4%.
Tropical vacations are another favourite with Chinese travellers.
Two Hainan cities, Haikou and Sanya, recorded growth in air arrivals From March to May this year, when compared to the same period in 2019. The increase was especially significant during the Golden Week: up by 39% in Haikou and 49% in Sanya.
Shanghai and Beijing remain top source markets in China, while a recent Covid surge has decreased demand from Guangdong temporarily.
Notably, Chengdu and Nanjing are two markets to watch, recovering to 60-70% of their pre-pandemic travel levels already.
According to ForwardKeys, 59% of domestic Chinese travellers now booking their trip in under four days.