Pre Covid-19, China was predicted a steady CAGR of 2% between 2016 and 2020 reaching 63.9 million international arrivals, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The outbreak originated in China and quickly spread globally. The effects of this severely impacted China as a tourism destination as well as Chinese travelers. China-outbound tourism is a significant contributor to the global tourism industry, accounting for 159 million global outbound travellers in 2019.
Moreover, the Chinese-outbound market had the second-highest spending last year, with an expenditure of US$275bn. This means when travel restrictions were introduced, China was not only impacted as a tourism destination but so were many other destinations that rely on high-yielding Chinese visitors.
Amber Barnes, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, says: “China as a tourist destination will not be able to rebound quickly and it is uncertain how long it will take the tourism industry to recover. Additionally, the brand image of China as a destination may be damaged. This is due to the virus starting in China which means tourists may have fear of the destination.”
GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Case Study: Impact of Covid-19 on Destinations’, reveals that the predicted forecast of 64 million international arrivals in 2020 will be impacted due to Covid-19. International arrivals were predicted to increase from the 62.6 international arrivals in which China received in 2019.
Barnes continues: “This steady increase will change to reflect a slowdown in 2020. The uncertainty of Covid-19 indicates tourism destinations will take time to recover and travelers will have doubts and fears about traveling in the future.”
“Tourism organizations and authorities must promote and reassure tourists that China is a safe tourism destination to attract tourists once Covid-19 is controlled.”
Barnes concludes: “China does have the potential to recover as a destination. The country previously has shown robustness to recover from a pandemic. This was severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) which originated in China and quickly spread globally in 2002. This emphasizes that although a lengthy process, the brand image and tourism destination can be restored provided the relevant DMOs engage travellers with effective campaigns.”