Demand for outbound MICE in China is growing strongly, to the point
when levels could be favourably compared to the country’s outbound
This is according to Edward Chen, general manager, PR and
representation at marketing solutions provider Dragon Trail
International, as he examined the latest trends in the Chinese travel
industry and announced Dragon Trail’s latest Chinese Outbound Travel
Trade Survey 2023. This featured responses from travel agents currently
selling outbound travel for mainland Chinese travel agencies.
“The potential (for outbound MICE) is there - a number of large
incentive groups have rescheduled departures for next year,” he said.
“So, my prediction for 2024 is that you will see quite a market growing
for [outbound Chinese] MICE.”
Sienna Parulis-Cook, director of marketing and communications at
Dragon Trail International echoed these sentiments, and said there is a
definite, growing interest in outbound Chinese MICE, particularly with
groups travelling to countries within southeast Asia. She pointed to
results from the survey which showed that offline events are seen as the
most helpful way to receive information from B2B partners, such as
overseas destinations and businesses.
“We can see that exhibitions and meetings really are something that
the trade is very interested in right now,” she said. “When we asked
what would be the most helpful way to work with an overseas destination
or travel business, the most popular answer was meeting at an offline
event, chosen by 61% of respondents.”
Chen added however that the destinations proving popular for outbound
Chinese MICE groups will remain subject to existing controls - China
currently only allows outbound group tours to 60 countries. This list
accounts for less than half of the destinations with Approved
Destination Status (ADS) agreements for outbound group travel before the
The survey also pointed to how the full recovery of the outbound
Chinese travel market still faces significant obstacles, with visa
applications and high prices - especially those of airfares, seen as the
two main challenges, according to the travel trade.
From the Chinese travel trade’s point of view, quality and comfort,
interesting destinations, and unique experiences are the most important
elements when their customers are booking travel.