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Updated as of October 14, 2021

$188 MILLION

2019 Expenditures

118 THOUSAND

2019 Person Visits

China was Alberta's 3rd largest international market in terms of expenditures before the pandemic. Source: Statistics Canada, Visitor Travel Survey

RECOVERY STAGE

  • COVID-19 Response – No travel.
  • Community Local – Non-essential businesses open with some physical distancing requirements.
  • Within Region – Consumers are travelling within the region.
  • Within Country – Domestic leisure travel resumes.
  • Limited International – Borders gradually reopen to inbound markets that have contained COVID-19.
  • Normalized Domestic & International – International travel indicators stable.

COVID-19 SITUATION

China reported 3,236 new COVID-19 cases between August 1 and October 2. The country saw a decrease of 67 per cent in the number of weekly new cases reported between the first and last week of the referenced period.

As of October 2, China continued to ease travel restrictions by maintaining visa policies in 23 different countries. Travellers from the countries covered under these policies will be allowed into China on the condition of having received two COVID-19 vaccine doses 14 days prior to planned arrival, along with presenting two negative tests (PCR and antibody tests) taken within 48 hours of travel. The list of countries includes the U.S. and the U.K., but not Canada (Source: CNN).

By October 2, about 2.21 billion cumulative COVID-19 vaccination doses were administered in China. This equates to 153.23 doses per 100 of the population (above 100 due to second vaccinations), higher than Canada’s 148.15 per 100 people, the European Union’s 127.21 per 100 people, the U.S.’s 117.35 per 100 people, and India’s 64.66 per 100 people (Source: ourworldindata.org).

ECONOMIC LANDSCAPE

China’s economic growth has slowed down due to weak investment levels, negatively affected consumption levels and some uncertainty around restructuring Evergrande’s liability, which is the largest real estate company in China that has been having liquidity issue. However, China’s GDP growth forecast is still at 8.4 per cent in 2021 and 5.8 per cent in 2022 (Source: Oxford Economics).

China's inflation rate decreased to 0.7 per cent in September, compared to 0.8 per cent in August, the lowest number in six months. Also, China’s food prices declined by 5.2 per cent, with pork prices declining at a faster rate (-46.9%) (Source: Trading Economics).

Unemployment in China remained consistent at 5.1 per cent in July and August, with a slight increase from 5 per cent in May and June (Source: Trading Economics).

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

Consumer Confidence in China declined slightly to 117.5 points in August, from 117.8 points in July.

TRAVEL INDICATORS

This information has been collected from Travel Alberta’s in-market teams, as well as multiple third-party sources, and is up to date as of October 13, 2021.

Fully vaccinated travellers from China who have not received a Canadian approved vaccine, must still quarantine for 14 days and complete day 8 testing. Health Canada has denied approval to all Chinese vaccines including Sinovac, Sinopharm, and CanSino. This is the biggest barrier to the resumption of Chinese travel to Canada and other G7 nations.

This is also the likely reason for there being no indirect forward scheduled seat capacity for the remainder of 2021 and why the first half of 2022 remains below 70 per cent each month compared to 2019. Alberta does not have any direct flights from China.

Most companies are selling and promoting domestic travel in China, and Chinese travellers are actively travelling within their own province. Flights have started to resume internationally. Chinese tour operators are still not allowed to feature and sell Canadian travel packages on their website and have laid off their international product teams. As a result, new employees will be in place when they start to sell and promote international itineraries, and will require training on Alberta as they might not be familiar with Canada and the province.