China’s ICBC Pledges $41 Billion to Revitalize Tourism Sector

The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC) has announced a 300-billion yuan ($41 billion) financing initiative to support the tourism industry in China amidst sluggish consumer spending in the world’s second-largest economy. This move by the largest bank in China comes as a response to economic challenges such as deflationary pressure and a prolonged property crisis, which have impacted consumer activity.

In a collaboration agreement signed with China’s culture and tourism ministry, ICBC aims to “stimulate” tourism investment and spending. The partnership will focus on boosting key tourism-related construction projects, with several agreements being signed with tourism agencies based in various Asian cities like Seoul, Tokyo, and Thailand through ICBC’s branches.

Despite economic headwinds, the tourism sector has shown resilience in China, emerging as a significant driver of economic growth. Domestic tourism trips surged by 93.3% last year compared to 2022, with spending witnessing a year-on-year increase of 140.3%, reaching 4.91 trillion yuan. Notably, during the Lunar New Year holiday in February, domestic trips rose by 19% from pre-Covid 2019 levels, while spending increased by 7.7%. This initiative underscores the efforts to leverage the strength of the tourism sector to stimulate economic activity and drive growth in the Chinese economy.