Inbound travel to China will return

The volume of visitors entering China from other countries will experience a recovery in 2023 in view of the removal of restrictions and quarantines, as well as a greater number of international flights, according to a report by the China Tourism Academy (CTA). When or how inbound medical tourism will resume after three years is as yet unknown.

CTA, which is affiliated with the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, estimates that travel arrivals bottomed out at 20 million trips in 2022, down from 32 million in 2021, 27.5 million in 2020 and 145 million in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.

The report predicts growth of the domestic tourism market, which will boost the confidence of business operators. In a short time, it suggests, cross-provincial tours in China will see rapid growth. A rebound in international tourism is also expected.

Online travel agencies have re-launched various kinds of cross-provincial group tour products. Beijing-based online travel agency Qunar said it has launched more than 100,000 such options and has continued to update its portfolio.

Sanya of Hainan province, Shanghai, and Lijiang of Yunnan province are among the most popular destinations.

The change from closed to open was so sudden that overseas tourism and medical tourism agencies may have been caught unprepared.