The global number of daily infections (per seven-day average) is now down to less than half of where it stood on January 11th, 2021, the day which hopefully marked the turning point in the pandemic.
During the Chinese New Year period, even though travel was discouraged, around 1.7 billion or still more than half of the number of trips of 2019 happened and “safe” trips by private car and to smaller destinations (which in fact filled up quickly) even increased. 1.7 billion trips within China still constitute the largest exercise in mobility on this planet. With regards to outbound travel, about 100,000 Mainland Chinese visited Macau SAR, because this is until now the only destination Mainland Chinese can visit without the need for quarantine after coming back to the Mainland. Other than that practically no leisure outbound trips happened.
Chinese outbound tourism will start again in the coming months, but it will need to be different and more sustainable compared to the first wave up to 2019. Chinese travellers demand has changed and new opportunities exist for more satisfactory tourism for both guests and hosts. In our pilot ADVANTAGE: TOURISM project for Turespaña, we can already see the mood change in the tourism industry with the restart of tourism showing up on the horizon but the idea that things have to be different in the future from how they were in the past widely shared.
Spain has been a late-comer in the Chinese outbound market. In 2013 only about 250,000 Chinese arrivals to Spain were registered (0.25% of the total market). By 2019 Spain had caught up with 700,000 Chinese visits to Spain (0.4% of the total market). However, most of the visitors from China were directed to the major (non-beach) destinations during the main season, contributing rather to overtourism than to the regional development of less visited areas or the mitigation of seasonality. The ADVANTAGE: TOURISM program provides help in reaching such goals in the future with a sustainable approach, based on trainings and the development of bespoke offers.
If you are interested in learning more how the tourism development is seen in the South of Spain, tune in to the live stream of the Radar CoViD Sevilla, which will include a presentation of your humble editor, on Thursday, February 25th at 12:00 noon Spanish time (19:00 h Beijing time).
Other speakers will include the presidents of the Sevilla Congress and Convention Bureau, the Association of Official Tour Guides of Seville and the Business Association of Travel Agencies of Seville, as well as the Director of the Spanish Tourism Office and Counsellor of the Spanish Embassy in Paris.
As always, best wishes from Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the COTRI Weekly team!
This editorial is also available as a video on COTRI YouTube channel.