Post-zero-Covid: What the return of Chinese tourists means for the global economy

Hong Kong

In the years before Covid, China was the world’s most important source of international travelers. Its 155 million tourists spent more than a quarter of a trillion dollars beyond its borders in 2019.

That largesse fell precipitously over the past three years as the country essentially closed its borders. But, as China prepares to reopen on Sunday, millions of tourists are poised to return to the world stage, raising hopes of a rebound for the global hospitality industry.

Although international travel may not return immediately to pre-pandemic levels, companies, industries and countries that rely on Chinese tourists will get a boost in 2023, according to analysts.

China averaged about 12 million outbound air passengers per month in 2019, but those numbers fell 95% during the Covid years, according to Steve Saxon, a partner in…

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