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Countries embrace returning Chinese travelers for Lunar New Year and beyond

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-12 08:14

Chinese tourists visit the Giza Pyramids scenic spot in Giza, Egypt, on Feb. 8, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - "My family and I decided to visit Tanzania to relax and to see animals. It is our first time here, and we are enjoying it," said Wang Shupeng, a 40-year-old father of twin daughters from Beijing, who chose the East African country for his family Lunar New Year trip.

The two 12-year-olds were fascinated by local culture, community life, and wildlife scenes and particularly excited about the safari in Serval Wildlife, a wildlife sanctuary located in the Siha district of the Kilimanjaro region at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain.

Li Miaomiao, a mother to a 9-year-old son and a resident of Lanzhou, the capital city of northwest China's Gansu province, embarked on a much-anticipated journey to Thailand at the end of January.

It was the first international flight that China Eastern Airlines had resumed in Gansu in three years, and the first passenger route linking Thailand was restored this winter at the airport in Lanzhou.

Families such as the Wangs and Lis are symbolic of the Chinese's renewed interest in overseas journeys to celebrate the cherished Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.

China's outbound tourism is riding a vigorous upward tide, with domestic tourism surpassing expectations and returning to the pre-pandemic level.

In December last year, China's international air passenger traffic reached a high point of over 60 percent of the corresponding level in 2019. In 2023, for example, Chinese tourists in Slovenia almost tripled the 2022 figure, according to the country's statistical office.

Between 200,000 and 250,000 Chinese tourists are expected to visit Thailand during this year's Spring Festival holiday, more than three times 2023 levels, said Chanapan Kaewklachaiyawuth, vice president of the Thai Chinese Tourism Alliance Association.

A recent Oxford Economics report forecasts the number of international outbound trips taken by Chinese travelers in 2024 will roughly double relative to 2023, bouncing back to nearly 80 percent of 2019 volumes.

The optimism is echoed in the World Tourism Barometer, published by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) last month. "Outbound and inbound tourism from China is expected to proliferate in 2024 due to visa facilitation and increased airline capacity," it said.

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