Post-Pandemic Chinese outbound tourism – Example Indonesia

by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS

Dear Reader,

this week the Global Tourism Forum Leader’s Summit Asia takes place in Jakarta/Indonesia. Well, actually the bigger part will be organised as usual virtually for well-known reasons. 

Your humble editor has the honour to chair a panel discussion about the development of Chinese outbound tourism to Indonesia in the post-pandemic period as part of the Summit. The panelist are Pauline Suharno, Director of ELOK TOUR and President of ASTINDO NATIONAL BOARD and Gary Bowerman, Director of Check-in Asia and editor of Asia Travel Re:Set, two well-known experts for tourism in Southeast Asia. At the beginning, an introduction into the trends in the post-pandemic period of China’s outbound tourism is provided by myself before the discussion.

The development of China’s tourism to Indonesia in the second half of the last decade followed a well-known pattern: After a rather slow start, the number of arrivals jumped from about one million in 2015 to more than two million in 2017, based mostly on the new-found status of Bali as a “hot” island destination. The arrival numbers did not grow any further in 2018 and 2019 and most parts of the country failed to attract many Chinese visitors. The Indonesian government started campaigns like “Ten new Balis” and “5 Priority Destinations” (Borobudur, Mandalika, Labuan Bajo, Likupang and Lake Toba), which however did not take off yet due to the CoViD-19 problem.

For the post-pandemic period the panel discussion concentrates on the question, how a more meaningful tourism, with specific destinations offering specific products to defined market segments can be successfully developed both by the private industry and the national and regional Destination Management Organisations. Such offers would help to spread the demand spatially as well as temporary and attract higher-spending market segments, helped by the increased interest in nature and outdoor activities and a decrease in the importance of shopping as a major element of Chinese outbound tourism. 

However, as the panel will discuss, the danger exists that after the opening of the Chinese border a cut-throat competition for business will start in Southeast Asia, with low prices and crazy discounts taking precedence over higher quality offers.

The panel discussion will be live on September 16th at 14:20 h Jakarta time (09:20 h Hamburg, 15:20 h Beijing) at To register for the whole event, go to 

Afterwards, the video of the panel discussion will also become available on Youtube. Have a look!

As always, all best wishes from Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the entire COTRI Weekly team!