China’s reopened borders present a huge tourism opportunity — so big, in fact, that Beijing could surpass Paris as the world’s most powerful city destination by 2032.
What Happened: After more than two years of COVID-19 restrictions, China has finally reopened its borders — a relief to travel-starved locals and weary nationals waiting to return from abroad. Although the hard work of recovery has just begun, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), a global forum that analyzes the economic impact of the travel industry, is confident in the country’s trajectory.
Beijing will become the world’s most powerful city destination by 2032, more than doubling the size of its travel sector from $33 billion to $77 billion (in terms of direct GDP contribution to the city), according to WTTC’s recent report. This would put the city ahead of Paris, which is currently crowned as the top city destination with a travel sector worth almost $36 billion. Meanwhile, Shanghai is expected to rank second in direct travel and tourism GDP in 2032, followed by Guangzhou and Macau at sixth and eighth place, respectively.
The Jing Take: While major cities such as London, Paris and New York will remain global powerhouses in the short term, Beijing and Shanghai are poised to move up international travel bucket lists. “Tourists will always have favorite cities that they will return to, but as other countries prioritize travel and tourism, we are going to see new and emerging destinations challenging the traditional favorites,” Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO, explains in the report.
And China is prepared to welcome these tourists, making investments in new hotels, transportation, and tourist destinations over the last decade. Take Macau, where the travel sector represents 40 percent of its total economy; in December 2022, the territory’s biggest hospitality and gambling giants pledged a total of $14.9 billion toward non-gaming projects over the next decade, with plans to develop theme parks, convention and exhibition centers, fine dining and performance venues. In fact, the WTTC forecasts that Macau will rank second worldwide in terms of international traveler spend by 2032, surpassed only by Hong Kong. Continue to read the full article here