Chongqing - As China's travel agencies opened outbound group travel and offered flight and hotel packages to tourists for Chinese citizens to 20 nations since February 6, the first outbound group of tourists in Chongqing will depart this weekend.
Many local travel agencies also confirmed that tour groups flying directly from Chongqing to Bangkok, Thailand, will resume from February 15.
The Chinese mainland resumed normal travel with the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, and group tours were restarted on February 6. Outbound travel and Hong Kong and Macau tours have rapidly become hot topics on major travel services platforms such as Ctrip, Fliggy, and Tongcheng Travel.
Among them, data from Ctrip showed that in the week after the Spring Festival, the bookings for outbound group tours and packaged air tickets and hotels increased by more than three times compared with the week of the holiday.
Jiang Wen, CEO of Ctrip Team Tour, said, "It reflects that tourists are gradually regaining confidence in outbound travel. At the same time, travel agencies have more products on the shelves, providing people with more diverse choices when going abroad."
According to the registration data, Thailand ranks top in the popularity of outbound trips due to its warm hospitality and inexpensive flight tickets. The Maldives, Egypt, New Zealand, and Indonesia are all popular among visitors.
Thailand is also the most popular destination on Fliggy and Tongcheng Travel. Tongcheng Travel data reveals that from January 20 to February 5, the consultation volume of outward and group tour goods climbed by 358% month on month, and the volume of visa consultation volume increased by 172% month on month. Tomb-sweeping Day and May Day are the holidays with the highest inquiries for outbound tour groups.
"To be honest, there is a certain gap with our expectations, but judging from the overall recovery situation, we are still very confident," said Zhou Xiaojun, deputy general manager of Chongqing Qianyou International Travel Agency.
Zhou added that before the Spring Festival, they were starting to negotiate with airlines on seat prices and charter flights. "After all, it has been held up for three years. Many companies have turned to domestic tours. Team leaders need to be recruited again, and they need to be retrained in the face of new changes."
Meanwhile, in Zhou's opinion, the changes in the demand for tourists after three years are also evident. "Traveling with a group is still the mainstream, but it may gradually decrease. Because more guests want to travel independently, customize family tours, and have higher requirements for privacy."
When asked about the future, both Zhou Xiaojun and Ms. Jiang said that the flight schedule for the summer and fall seasons, which begin at the end of March, is critical. "Additionally improved are the travel goods for the flight seasons. There will be a natural increase in audience size with lower costs for airline tickets and related resources."
According to Ms. Jiang, the industry consensus is that Chongqing's outbound tourism will approach the national average by the end of March. Zhou Xiaojun added, "Different preferential measures are expected to be further implemented by the summer vacation, and outbound tourism will usher in a full recovery."
(He Hanyue, as an intern, also contributed to the report.)
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