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No one knows yet how large a rebound in outbound Chinese tourism will be in the short-term, but this is a good sign.

China’s first international cruise in three years set sail on Friday, heading from Shanghai to Japan in a boost for the country’s beleaguered cruise industry following the pandemic, state media reported.

The Blue Dream Star sailed a day after China opened the way for more international travel by its citizens, lifting pandemic restrictions on group tours for more countries, including key markets such as the United States, Japan, South Korea.

The vessel, operated by Shanghai Blue Dream International Cruise Line and carrying more than 1,000 passengers, will sail to Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Kagoshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

Thursday’s lifting of more travel restrictions by the culture and tourism ministry is seen as a potential boon for international travel industries.

Prior to the pandemic, mainland Chinese tourists spent more than any other country’s tourists when abroad, clocking up a combined $255 billion in 2019 – with group tours estimated to account for roughly 60% of that.

Their absence since the pandemic has led to financial troubles for many tourism-dependent businesses around the globe.

Just how much outbound Chinese tourism will bounce back for the latest group of countries remains to be seen. Expectations that demand would come roaring back after China’s borders were re-opened have to date been largely unfulfilled.

As of July, the number of international flights in and out of China had recovered to only 53% of 2019’s levels.

(Reporting by Farah Master and the Beijing newsroom; Editing by Frances Kerry)

This article was from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].


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Tags: blue dream international cruise line, china, tourism

Photo credit: A file photo view of the Huangpu River and Shanghai skyline. Source: Reuters

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