Growing Inbound Travel In China Concerns Western Luxury Brands

What happenedGolden Week is usually a chance for China’s citizens to travel around the world, but this year, Chinese citizens had to settle for staycations and internal destinations. According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, China recorded 425 million domestic tourist visits in the first half of the eight-day long national holiday, which happens to overlap with the country’s Mid-Autumn Festival this year. Up to 1,000 tourist attractions across China have been offering free or discounted tickets during the holiday — the first holiday since China reopened trans-provincial group tours in July. According to a report issued by the service e-commerce platform Meituan Research Institute, consumption at tourist attractions nationwide during the holiday is expected to rebound at about 90 percent of last year’s holiday period.

The Jing Take: Though COVID-19 is effectively under control in China, global travel restrictions and quarantine-periods still hamper movement in and out of the country. In 2019, China ranked no. 13 in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index, and the local tourism sector is seeing a strong post-lockdown rebound. That could have many potential knock-on effects, from invigorating local economies to a new appreciation of staycations. If attitudes change and staying home takes hold, luxury brands need to brace for the likelihood that outbound travel — and, therefore, outbound retail — still won’t be a reality. Faced huge market losses, the real issue for luxury brands isn’t how worried they should be, but how they can keep pivoting to connect with China’s consumers at home.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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