Many tour operators in Europe are disappointed by lower-than-expected bookings from high-spending Chinese travelers who before the pandemic would typically splash between 1,500 and 3,000 euros per person, according to the Global Times newspaper.
Chinese outbound flight bookings to Europe during March and August are only 32% of pre-pandemic levels, according to travel data firm ForwardKeys.
Before the pandemic, Chinese tourism made up 10% of stays from non-EU tourists in Europe, with the market growing 350% in the decade to 2019, driven by a particular interest in luxury shopping and fine dining.
But bogged down by visa restrictions, long passport wait lines and limited airline tickets to Europe, which are in some cases 80% more expensive than before the pandemic, Chinese tourists are staying closer to home.
Instead, they’re taking their hard-earned pandemic savings to places like Hong Kong, where arrivals were up 1,400% in the last two months, or Thailand and Macau.
For the less wealthy, the price of getting to Europe is also a deterrent.
Many tour operators and retailers hope the second half will bring a relaxation in visa policies, more flights and the long-expected influx of Chinese tourists.
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