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Europe’s hopes for busy post-COVID summer dim as Chinese stay away

However, a small number of people have been able to make it happen in February and some larger ones in May.

Kessler is disappointed that low-spending Chinese tourists book less than expected, which can lead to disappointment for many tour operators. Before the pandemic, they would spend between 1,500-3,000 euros per person.

According to ForwardKeys, the number of Chinese outbound flights to Europe in March and August is only 32% less than pre-pandemic levels.


As domestic holidaymakers become more financially strapped, the travel industry is also struggling to find cheaper vacations. This summer is the second since Europe’s COVID restrictions were lifted. It’s a test for airlines and airports to hire staff and avoid another summer of chaos.

Olivier Ponti, a ForwardKeys executive, stated that “there’s still a long road to complete recovery.”

“Chinese airlines do everything possible to…operate those routes. You need staff, slots, and the right level service.


Kessler, who created a marketing campaign that featured Lang Lang, the pianist, playing on top of the mountain in order to appeal to the Chinese audience. He hopes groups from India, the United States and South Korea will fill the gap.

Prior to the pandemic, 10% of European tourists stayed in China. The market grew 350% over the past decade, driven by an interest in luxury and fine dining.

However, Chinese tourists prefer to stay closer to home due to visa restrictions, lengthy passport wait lines, and limited availability of airline tickets to Europe. In some cases, these tickets are 80% more costly than before the pandemic.

Instead, they are taking their hard earned pandemic savings to places such as Hong Kong, where arrivals have increased 1,400% in two months, and Thailand and Macau.

The cost of traveling to Europe can also be a deterrent for the less fortunate.

“Cost is certainly a consideration. There aren’t many flights available yet, which makes it difficult to consider going to Europe in the near future. However, Stephanie Lin, 33-year-old from Shanghai, stated that she would love to travel more outside of China.


American tourists are a major source of business for tour operators, as they are bringing in large numbers to Europe thanks to the strong dollar. Analysts predict that transatlantic travel to Paris and London could exceed 2019 levels.

26-year-old Sophie Lu arrived in London from Hawaii in March and was surprised at how cheap the food was.

Standing in front of Buckingham Palace, she stated, “I wasn’t planning to splurge whatsoever, but I kinda just noticed that there were a lot more things than America has and it’s a bit cheaper.”

Colleen Danielson (40), a visitor from Boston, stated that she was more inclined to spend on the Champs Elysee in Paris because of the strength of the dollar.

“When we visited Dior, we thought about whether we should make a larger purchase, or a bag, or something similar. She said that the exchange rate has an impact.


Many retailers and tourist operators hope that the second half of the year will see a relax in visa policies and more flights, as well as the anticipated influx of Chinese tourists.

Flashy marketing campaigns are being run by retailers who hope for a gradual return.

Harrods launched branded stickers on China’s WeChat messaging platform, including the iconic Harrods bear, to attract Chinese tourists.

Bicester Village is a discount outlet for designer clothing near Oxford. WeChat also allows them to plan shopping trips and make payments.

Kessler believes that his Lang Lang campaign is still worthwhile.

He said, “I believe it will go a bit like an ice hockeystick.” “The year’s beginning will be flat but it will pick up as we move through the year.”

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