China tourism market a step closer to robust recovery

The Culture and Tourism Ministry said domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, the year before the pandemic hit. — China Daily

BEIJING: 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.

Last Friday, the last day of the seven-day break, the Culture and Tourism Ministry published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market.

It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year (y-o-y). The number is roughly 88.6% 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 (US$55.41bil or RM235bil), a y-o-y rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the ministry said.

Figures from travel agencies also show a surge in visits to domestic and overseas destinations. According to 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 four-fold 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% y-o-y.

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 travellers.

According to Hainan’s bureau of tourism, culture, television and sports, the province received nearly 6.4 million visits over the seven-day break, a year-on-year rise of 18.2%.

The tourism-related revenue saw a y-o-y increase of 23.5%, reaching about 9.3 billion yuan (RM5.8bil) during the holiday.

Overseas travel saw a good start over the holiday. Online travel agency said that bookings for flight tickets to overseas destinations rose by 258% y-o-y on the platform. Those for inbound flights surged by 632%, it said. added that travellers 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% of surveyed companies saw their holiday revenues reaching over 80% of the same period back in 2019.

About 49% of the surveyed companies saw their holiday revenue reaching 60% to 80% 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 travellers, thereby boosting confidence for investment,” he said. — China Daily/ANN

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