Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


Chinese Cite Financial Impact From Covid for Not Wanting to Travel Abroad

1 year ago

Chinese travelers cite financial constraints over the last three years as the leading reason for not wanting to travel abroad even as China decided to end its zero-Covid policy by easing travel restrictions, according to a report.

Chinese marketing solutions firm Dragon Trail International published a report on Thursday following a survey of more than 1,000 Chinese travelers between January 4 and 7 to gauge the consumer sentiment around outbound travel.

More than one-third of travelers said they would be staying at home because of time constraints, or because of the inconvenience of applying for a passport or visa.

China had stopped issuing passports at the start of the Covid pandemic in early 2020. Following the easing of restrictions, the administration had said it would start taking passport applications from January 8.

Even as more than 60 percent of survey respondents said they wanted to travel outside of mainland China this year, travel spending will be somewhat constrained for many in the aftermath of Covid.

Around 45 percent of those surveyed said they would keep travel budgets within $3,000.

In 2019, Chinese tourists took 150 million trips overseas per year while spending $255 billion.

Of those who plan to travel overseas, 71 percent said they would do so for 5-10 days – a point to consider when creating travel products for the Chinese market in 2023.

Another interesting insight that the survey highlights is the increasing relevance of social media platform Xiaohongshu, more popularly known as the Chinese version of Instagram, not just for travel inspiration, but also for planning.

Skift Megatrends 2023 has also highlighted how short-form video content has become such a dominant format, particularly for destination storytelling.

Recovery of outbound travel in China is expected to pick up in the second half of the year with July witnessing a strong comeback.

The survey expects a bumper 8-day Golden Week holiday from September 29-Octover 6 for mid-autumn festival and China’s National Day.

However, Chinese travelers will be travelling closer home as the most popular outbound destinations in 2023 are all in Asia with Hong Kong leading the way, while Thailand is by far the most popular foreign country.


Croatia Will Join Border-Free Schengen Area in 2023

1 year ago

Croatia will be joining the Schengen area in the new year. Starting January 1, travelers will be able to move passport-free between Croatia and the 26 member countries that make up the Schengen area.

The Schengen area comprises a pact between countries to remove border controls for those traveling between their territories. Croatia received unanimous approval to join the border-free zone from the 26 Schengen member states on December 8.

Croatia will be joining the Schengen area on January 1, 2023. Image source: Unsplash

Croatian airports have until March 26 to lift their border entry measures. After March 26, flights originating from the Schengen member states arriving in Croatia will no longer be requiring border checks, according to Travel Begins at 40.

The official currency of Croatia will also be the euro on January 1. All ATMs in Croatia will dispensing euros by January 15 at the latest, according to Croatia Week.

The new Schengen membership and currency adoption are some of the latest milestones the country has completed to ease the movement of people between itself and rest of Europe. In July, Croatia opened the Pelješac Bridge, which has streamlined travel with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The European Commission invested $349 million to support the project, which amounted to 85 percent of its financing.


New U.S. Tourism Strategy Calls for More Touchless Tech

2 years ago

From facial biometrics at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints to visas that don’t require boarding foils, the new U.S. Department of Commerce strategy to boost international arrivals calls for tech improvements to better verify identities and expedite the travel process.

Passport kiosks. Department of Homeland Security. Flickr

Among the recommended tech-oriented actions citied in the strategy are:

  • The Department of Homeland Security should rework its systems to handle digital travel credentials, including touchless tech like facial recognition.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection should deploy facial comparison tech to verify visitor identities.
  • Facial recognition tech should be implemented at TSA security lanes and airline boarding gates.
  • Digital visa processing using foil-less visas for verifying traveler identities should be pursued.
  • The State Department “should explore the direct capture of photographs for passports and visas to standardize image quality for improved comparison against travel documents, reduce the probability of false rejections, and combat fraud,” the Commerce Department stated.