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China Sees 292% Outbound Travel Agencies Growth In 2023

Last year, registrations of new outbound travel agencies increased by 292.62% compared to 2022, reaching a total of 27,400 agencies, according to China Travel Trade Media. With no sign of slowing down, 2024 has already seen 7,400 newly-registered companies. Broken down by region, Guangdong is now home to 12,400 outbound travel agencies, ranking first, followed by Shandong and Jiangsu, with 8,100 and 7,800 agencies in total, respectively.

Douyin ups travel bookings game with "Secure Travel" certification

Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, has added another layer of customer protection services for the travel industry. Douyin recently introduced the "Secure Travel" guarantees feature for travel products, with a certification that covers six guarantees, namely:

  • Only travel, no forced shopping;

  • No visa rejections;

  • No group tour cancellations;

  • No accommodation cancellations;

  • Consistent itineraries;

  • No hidden fees

Currently, more than 700 travel agencies and over 12,000 products have received this certification on the Douyin platform. If travelers find any discrepancy between advertised and delivered services, they can directly contact Douyin customer service, upload evidence, and upon verification by the platform, enjoy fast reimbursement. Since April this year, Douyin platform data shows orders for travel and accommodation growing by 90.36% year-on-year.

The 14th China-US Tourism High-level dialogue to be held in Xi'an in May

During the April 26 talks between Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi and U.S. Secretary of State Blinken in Beijing, it was agreed that both countries would take measures to expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and welcome students from each other's countries. It was also agreed that the 14th China-US Tourism High-level Dialogue was to be held in the city of Xi'an in May.

Tencent improves Digital RMB for international users

Under the guidance of the Digital Currency Research Institute of the People's Bank of China, the Tencent Digital RMB project team has further improved the digital RMB payment experience for overseas visitors to China. After opening a digital RMB wallet, overseas visitors can use the digital RMB app to scan WeChat Pay commercial payment codes in more than one million merchants located across Digital RMB pilot areas.

Poland resumes operations at 15 visa centers in China

The Polish Embassy in China announced that it will resume accepting visa applications via VFS Global from May 6th, and visa application appointments have started up again as of April 23rd. Polish Schengen visa and national visa applications will be accepted at 15 visa centers in Beijing, Changsha, Jinan, Shenyang, Wuhan, Xi'an, Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Fuzhou, Hangzhou, and Nanjing. In addition, LOT Polish Airlines announced that it will resume its direct flights from Beijing Capital Airport to Warsaw Airport from June 2nd, with 3 flights per week and a flight time of about 11 hours. Air China will maintain its direct flight from Beijing to Warsaw with 3 flights per week.

Caissa Travel sues Hainan Airlines over ¥300 million debt

Chinese state-owned tour operator Caissa Travel recently issued a notice regarding a major lawsuit involving debt owed by several HNA Group affiliated airlines. According to Caissa Travel's announcement, the total debt owed by over ten affiliated airlines of Hainan Airlines amounts to approximately 303 million yuan. Caissa Travel has filed a lawsuit with the Hainan Province First Intermediate People's Court, and the case has been accepted by the court.

Jeju Air launches Beijing Daxing ⇌ Jeju Island flights

On April 24th, Jeju Air's regular round-trip flight route between Beijing Daxing and Jeju Island launched with its inaugural flight. This is the first strategic air travel cooperation by Huacheng Guolü Group together with Jeju Air, and also the first time a Korean airline has launched regular flights to Beijing Daxing.

Air China to resume four international routes

As of April 28th, Air China is to gradually open new routes from Beijing to Riyadh, Beijing to Dhaka, and resume the Beijing-Madrid-Sao Paulo, Beijing-Madrid-Havana routes. As these routes reopen, Air China's route network will once again cover all six continents globally.

Shijiazhuang to Tokyo Narita International route opened

On April 24th, with the smooth take-off of Spring Airlines flight 9C6119 from Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport, the Shijiazhuang-Tokyo international passenger route was officially opened. This route operates 2 flights per week on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Direct flight from Shanghai to Marseille will open in July

Eastern Airlines announced that it will launch the "Shanghai-Marseille" direct round-trip flight on July 2nd this year. This is the first direct flight route between the two cities. Operated by Shanghai Airlines under Eastern Airlines, it offers 3 round-trip flights every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. Marseille is the second-largest city in France, and became a sister city with Shanghai in 1987.

China Southern Airlines opens its first direct flight from northeast China to Germany

China Southern Airlines' Shenyang-Frankfurt route started operating on April 25th, becoming the first direct regular route connecting China's northeastern region to Germany.

Korean Air resumes Zhengzhou to Seoul regular international passenger route

On April 24th, Korean Air resumed its regular international passenger route from Zhengzhou to Seoul. The Seoul-Zhengzhou route will operate 4 flights per week starting from April 24th, with one flight each on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. In addition, Korean Air plans to increase the frequency of this route to a daily flight in mid-August.

Royal Caribbean teams up with UnionPay International for easy payments at sea

Royal Caribbean International Cruise and China's UnionPay International have teamed up to launch card-binding and card-swiping discounts, providing passengers with a convenient payment experience at sea. Customers can now simply bind their UnionPay card at check-in (online or offline), and use their room cards for shopping and on-board consumption on international cruises, including specialty restaurants, beverages, entertainment.

New Zealand Tourism Bureau: Chinese tourists are "small-group-oriented"

In February this year, the number of Chinese tourists visiting New Zealand reached 38,000, a 74% recovery compared to Spring Festival 2019. Rene de Monchy, CEO of Tourism New Zealand, said that Chinese tourists no longer prefer the popular large group tours of the past, but prefer high-value, small-scale and custom-made tours. He emphasized that destinations will see customized tour groups, which may be large families, such as groups of 8-12 guests. These small groups may have their own transportation, and may look like group tours, but behave like free and independent travelers, while also having more spending power.

Hong Kong Tourism Board targets individual travelers from Qingdao, issuing tourist consumption vouchers

To boost visitor numbers over the upcoming May Day holidays, the Hong Kong Tourism Board will issue tourist consumption vouchers free of charge to citizens from Qingdao who visit Hong Kong as individual and independent travelers. These vouchers can be used in more than 100 premium brands and 2,000 shops in Hong Kong. This is the first time the Hong Kong Tourism Board has issued exclusive vouchers targeted at mainland cities.

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