China’s tourism sector embraces continuous recovery

Photo taken on March 14 shows a night view of the East Lake, Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. (Photo by Zhao Guangliang/People's Daily Online)

Successful COVID-19 control is gaining robust revitalization for China’s tourism sector. China Tourism Academy estimated that over 85 percent of Chinese residents are willing to go on a trip this year to make up for what they had lost in the previous year due to the epidemic.

China’s tourism industry has embraced continuous recovery after the Spring Festival in February. Hongmei village, a tourism destination in Lanxi, east China’s Zhejiang Province, received over 50 orders since it resumed operation for its online store on Ctrip, a major Chinese online tour service provider, on Feb. 27.

Statistics also indicated an explosive growth in the demand for medium- and high-end tours. According to Ctrip’s data, the number of tourists signing up for private tour groups for the upcoming three-day holiday of China’s Tomb-sweeping Day surged by 260 percent from a year ago, and there is also an 80 percent growth in the number of people ordering tour products related to the peach blossom festival, an annual event held in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. Besides, the positions in 50 tour groups to Xisha Islands in the South China Sea have been booked in just half a month, though the price for on position stands at 10,000 yuan ($1,525).

The Chinese capital Beijing no longer requires those arriving from other areas in China with a low risk of COVID-19 infection to undergo nucleic acid tests since March 16. “Learning this information, I immediately booked tickets to Wuhan to see the cherry blossoms there,” said Li Yali, who works in Beijing and was planning for her first trip this year.

The search volume of tours related to Tomb-sweeping Day and Labor Day holiday experienced obvious growth recently on multiple online tour service platforms. According to Ctrip, China is about to see 100 million trips during the Tomb-sweeping Day. The search volume of Labor Day holiday tours also went up by 130 percent from a month ago on Mafengwo, which is considered the “travel bible” by younger Chinese netizens. Qunar, a rival of Ctrip, said more air tickets have been booked for the upcoming Labor Day holiday than those in the same period of 2019, and hotel rooms in multiple tourism destinations, including Luoyang, Dali, and Suzhou have already been on short supply.

The tourism popularity of nearly 100 cities in China has risen by over 50 percent as the temperature slowly climbs in spring. According to Mafengwo, the popularity of Ili, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region rocketed 317 percent this spring.

Fliggy, a burgeoning online travel platform in China, introduced that the orders of short trips on the platform increased 400 percent this March from a year ago. Noctivagation for cherry blossoms, taking portrait photos in tea plantations and mountain climbing remain the most popular tourism activities in 2021, the platform said.

As the COVID-19 epidemic is gradually under control, the cultural and tourism industry will experience accelerated recovery this spring, said Wu Ruoshan, a research fellow with the Tourism Research Center, Chinese Academy of Social Science. Spring outing, agritainment facilities, featured B&Bs, hiking and recreational activities will be specifically favored by consumers, he added.

Apart from traditional tours, tourist trains are also welcomed in many parts of China, especially by senior tourists. Such an innovative tourism method features high flexibility and one-stop services, and are environmentally friendly, low-carbon and safe.

On March 15, a tourist train left Deyang, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, carrying over 700 tourists. It was the first inter-provincial tourist train departing the province this year. It crossed a series of tourist attractions, including the Yellow Crane Tower and East Lake in Hubei Province, the Huangshan Mountain in Anhui Province, Wuyuan and Jingde in Jiangxi Province, as well as Yandang Mountain in Zhejiang Province.

Earlier this month, a tourist train also traveled 5,000 kilometers from northeast China to Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, passing by over 20 well-known tourist sites in Ningxia, Gansu, and Qinghai.

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