Tourists opt for classy short trips to cope with travel restrictions

Hu Min
New trends in 2021 include private tours as market adapts to interprovincial tour disruptions and limited overseas travel, agency reports.
Hu Min

Tourism is getting personalized and more in-depth during COVID-19, with higher quality, short distance and small private-tour groups becoming a trend in 2021, according to Shanghai-based online travel giant

Interprovincial tourist groups often have been halted due to new cases, making short-distance trips a major alternative, said on Thursday as it reviewed the year's market changes in a summit.

Bookings for trips to destinations near people's homes accounted for 80 percent of the total in August, the summer vacation period, due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the travel agency said.

Such booking accounted for over 50 percent of the total of the year, with a big increase in themed tours like camping, cycling and skiing, according to

Private tour groups, made up usually of families and friends, have become the trend and the demand for personalized tours is soaring significantly, with relevant bookings showing a three-digit increase this year, it said.

"COVID-19 has changed people's travel demands and habits and the way of traveling is getting more resilient and tolerant," said Jiang Hao, CEO of Group's travel unit.

"More diversified and free development trends have emerged in the tourism market this year as a result," he said.

Diving, skiing, mountaineering and outdoor sports are gaining popularity, the travel operator said.

Self-driving tours are favored for their flexibility and privacy, stimulating the huge potential of the vehicle rental market.

Rural tourism and "red" tourism have become favorite options, with the number of bookings for the latter tripling in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year.

Bookings for "red" tourism from people born between 1980 and 1999 accounted for 70 percent, revealing the enthusiasm of young people to get involved in the genre.

There was significant growth in bookings for international flights in the second half of this year compared with the first half. Also, people tended to choose products with guarantees such as ticket cancellation insurance and delay compensation, said.

Also, the market share of budget airlines is growing significantly, particularly in Europe, it said.

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