(ECNS) -- Chinese citizens' outbound trips may see an explosive growth during the upcoming May Day holiday as a package of favorable policies were released to recover the country’s tourism market.
China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced on Friday that it would resume outbound group tours for Chinese citizens to another 40 countries including Nepal, Vietnam, Iran, France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Brazil starting from March 15.
It is the second batch of destinations in China's pilot program for outbound group tours, after the country resumed cross-border group tours to the first batch of 20 countries and regions on February 6.
France, Greece, Spain, Italy, Denmark and other European countries are among the second batch destinations. The number of outbound travel searches on some platforms soared instantly after the news was released, with many tourism companies rapidly preparing their respective products.
Li Mengran, public relations manager of UTour Group, said the company will customize more group tour products targeting the European market.
Data from Fliggy, an Alibaba-owned travel platform, shows that within one hour after the notice was published, searches for international flight tickets increased by 185 percent instantly.
According to Ctrip data, after the announcement, searches for some countries increased by more than 300 percent compared with the previous day, clicks on some pages related to outbound travel grew by 77 percent instantly, and visa enquires also rose by four times.
Vietnam, Italy, Serbia, France, and Spain are the top five countries that Chinese tourists want to visit most among the second batch of destinations.
“Chinese tourists are concerned about which destinations can remain open and when they can travel to more countries according to website page views and consultation calls,” said Li Mengran.
"After the release of the list, I believe it can meet the demands of these tourists and accelerate people’s travel," Li added.
Airlines are increasing flights to popular destinations as the spring flight season approaches.
“We mainly focus on travel routes to Southeast Asia and usually operate charter flights. Thailand and Vietnam, two popular tourist destinations, are on the second batch list,” said Zhang Fan, a deputy general manager of a travel agency in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
Zhang predicted that a small outbound travel peak will hit in April, with tourists mainly retirees.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday lifted mandatory COVID-19 test requirements for travelers from China.
Immigration authorities across China had handled 39.722 million exits and entries as of March 7 since Jan. 8 this year, up 112.4 percent year-on-year, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) said.
NIA statistics showed that over 1.01 million exit and entry trips were recorded on Feb. 25, the first single-day figure exceeding 1 million since 2020.