Tourism market a step closer to robust recovery
Tourism operators in China are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.
On Friday, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1 percent year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6 percent of that in 2019, the year before the pandemic hit.
Tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan, a year-on-year rise of 30 percent. The revenue was about 73 percent of that in 2019, the ministry said.
Figures from travel agencies also show a surge in visits to domestic and overseas destinations. According to Trip.com Group, most people preferred long-distance travel instead of short trips during the holiday.
The travel portal said that bookings for both domestic and overseas destinations saw a fourfold increase on the platform during the seven-day break, topping all holidays in the past three years. Bookings for overseas travel on the portal surged by 640 percent year-on-year.
Domestic destinations with mild climate or a heavy atmosphere of celebration, such as the coastal city Sanya in Hainan province and Beijing, were popular choices among travelers.
Overseas travel saw a good start over the holiday. Online travel agency LY.com said that bookings for flight tickets to overseas destinations rose by 258 percent year-on-year on the platform. Those for inbound flights surged by 632 percent, it said.
LY.com added that travelers preferred countries with friendly entry policies, such as Thailand and Cambodia.
Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy, said that considering the recent numbers, the tourism market is returning to its normal pace. “Tourism operators and industry insiders showed an increasing sense of achievement during the Spring Festival holiday, as they raised their prospects and confidence of investments for this year.”
According to a survey by the academy, about 18.2 percent of surveyed companies saw their holiday revenues reaching over 80 percent of the same period back in 2019. About 49 percent of the surveyed companies saw their holiday revenue reaching 60 percent to 80 percent of the figure in 2019.
Dai said the revenue generated during the Spring Festival holiday is a good start, but the tourism market won’t bounce back over one holiday after being hit for three years.
“The market needs a longer time to recover. So it is important for government bodies in fiscal, financial, social security and tourism policymaking sectors to maintain stable growth of the market and improve satisfaction of travelers, thereby boosting confidence for investment,” he said.