Tourism continues rebound despite sporadic local outbreaks

Although recent sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks are hindering China’s tourism industry during the summer vacation season, the sector will see robust growth when the virus gets under control, based on its strong domestic demand, Economic Daily reported.

To prevent the spread of the virus through tourism activities, strict measures have been taken across the country, especially in medium- and high-risk areas.

Civil aviation, railway, transportation and other departments are offering free ticket refunds for tourists.

According to guidelines from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, cross-provincial tourism businesses have been temporarily suspended in medium- and high-risk areas.

More than 1,100 A-class tourist attractions in 20 provinces had closed to tourists by Aug 4.

Additionally, as of Aug 5, over 90 percent of scenic spots have asked visitors to make appointments in advance before visiting.

For example, the Palace Museum’s daily attendance has been reduced to 60 percent of its regular capacity.

Faced with unsatisfactory market performance, however, tourism personnel still hold positive expectations for the future.

“As long as the virus outbreak comes under control, the tourism market will soon get back on track,” said Cheng Chaogong, chief researcher at a tourism research institute affiliated with the online travel agency Tongcheng-eLong. “Consumer confidence and demand still exist.”

“Previous data showed the total number of domestic tourists increased 100.8 percent year-on-year in the first half, and tourism revenue surged 157.9 percent in comparison to the same period last year,” said Huang Yuzhou, vice-president of Fliggy.

“The figure indicates that potential domestic demand lies as a cornerstone for the sustainable development of tourism,” He said.

Huang is also paying attention to the upcoming National Day vacation and “Double-Eleven” shopping festival in the second half of 2021, which may give a boost to the sector’s recovery.

Cheng views the virus outbreak as a “touchstone” for companies to test their resilience to risk. It is a period for them to adjust management strategies and business models, to quickly get used to the new market under the pandemic.

“It’s of vital importance for tourism enterprises to build up sustainable operational capabilities to withstand risk”, Huang said.

“Enterprises need to improve their ability to attract customers digitally and in a more efficient way, and better meet consumers’ needs with continuous innovation, which is the best way to survive uncertainties,” according to Huang.

Author: Zhao Shiyue, China Daily

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