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Chinese flight booking sites swamped as end of restrictions nears

Top destinations for pent-up travel demand include Thailand, Japan, South Korea

Travelers at Beijing Capital International Airport on Dec. 27.   © Reuters

Searches for international flights on Chinese online travel platforms surged by up to tenfold after it was announced that travel restrictions would be lifted from early next month, as citizens largely cut off from overseas trips over the last three years due to COVID sought to spread their wings once again.

Within 15 minutes of the announcement, searches for international flight tickets increased sevenfold, data from Chinese online travel giant Qunar showed, with popular destinations including Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

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