Outbound Group Tours Revive

Outbound Group Tours Revive Amidst Changing Travel Landscape


End of Travel Restrictions

Beijing’s recent decision to lift the Covid-era ban on outbound group tours marks a significant shift in China’s travel policy. As part of its strict zero-Covid strategy, China had cut off international travel in 2020 to curb the spread of the virus. This latest announcement from the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism signals a gradual return to normalcy, allowing travel agencies and online travel companies to resume outbound group tours to over 70 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and South Korea.

Measured Reintroduction

Prior to this broader reopening, China had already initiated a trial program permitting Chinese tour groups to visit select countries, such as Thailand, Italy, and France. The ministry notes that this trial phase has contributed positively to tourism exchanges and cooperation. The carefully phased approach reflects a cautious attempt to strike a balance between reinvigorating the tourism sector and ensuring public health remains a top priority.

Tourism’s Evolution

China’s outbound tourism had once dominated the global market, with a staggering 155 million trips taken by mainland Chinese residents in 2019. However, the pandemic led to a drastic reduction in international travel as authorities imposed restrictions on passport renewals and slashed international flights. While the recent easing of mass testing and quarantine measures has led to a resurgence in Covid cases, the reopening of outbound group tours signifies an incremental return to pre-pandemic travel patterns, even though inbound tourism remains subdued

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