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First outbound group travel to set off on Feb 6

By Chen Liubing | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-02-03 11:12

Chinese tourists arrive at the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Indonesia, Jan 22, 2023. [Photo/VCG]

As China rolled out a pilot program to revive the country's outbound group travel services, travel agencies and online tourism service providers in China will be permitted to provide group tours for 20 countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, starting from Feb 6.

According to Chen Jie, chairman of travel agency Caesar, the company's first batch of outbound travel products will be launched soon, with its first group travel to the Europe in 2023 to set out on Feb 7, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Friday.

The first batch of tourists from Springtour travel agency will head to the Thai island of Phuket on Feb 6, said a person in charge of the company.

Online travel platform Ctrip has launched around 700 outbound group travel products to date, covering 15 countries and regions, with its earliest outbound group to set off on Feb 7 to Bangkok, Thailand, the report said.

"The recovery of outbound group travel is underway," said Zhang Yan, product director of Ctrip Overseas Groups, adding that the volume of outbound group travel products as well as tourists will see a noticeable rebound starting from March.

As relevant airline ticket and hotel booking services also resumed, the search volume of Visa business increased nearly 3 times on a monthly basis in January, data from travel portal Qunar showed.

According to Guo Lechun, vice-president of the big data research institute at Qunar, flights heading to Hong Kong, Macao and Southeast Asia are rising in February.

As Chinese tourists started to return home after the Spring Festival holiday, overseas hotels are cutting prices. On Qunar, hotels in Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Macao and Hong Kong all saw average price reductions of around 10 percent, the report said.

The average flight ticket prices on Qunar in February also halved compared with the Spring Festival period, according to the report.

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