Domestic tourism is booming, surpassing 2019
China's tourism market is recovering rapidly, already surpassing 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, while the outbound tourism market is still recovering due to several bottlenecks, Shanghai-based online travel operator Trip.com revealed.
Bookings for some popular routes, such as trip to Bomi County, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, to appreciate peach blossoms, have shot up 160 percent compared with the same period of 2019, according to the travel operator.
People are traveling further this year to enjoy the enchanting floral scenery. Domestic tourist attractions with floral landscapes saw ticket sales increase by 150 percent over the same period of last year, while domestic group tour sales increased by nearly 400 percent.
"Since China relaxed COVID-19 protocols in January, the domestic tourism market has recovered at a rate far exceeding that of 2019," said Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com Group.
"However, outbound tourism is still confronted with some bottlenecks, such as passport and visa renewal, and the resumption of international flight capacity," Sun told Shanghai Daily on Thursday.
Sun says that the number of international flights has restored only 10 to 20 percent of what it was before the pandemic.
Also, the tourism industry is short of workers around the world because many changed jobs during the pandemic. This has led to a shortage of people who can work in international destinations, she said.
Sun predicts that the outbound tourism market will gradually recover and reach 50 to 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels by the third quarter.
"Meanwhile, in the post-COVID era, tourists are prioritizing safety in their journeys and have shortened their booking duration prior to their visits due to uncertainty in outbound destinations. People no longer want to travel with strangers, so tour groups have shrunk in size."
"There is a trend toward green travel among the younger generation as well, and we have taken a number of measures to catch up on the trend, such as using electronic vehicles for rental service to reduce carbon emissions, and our partners in the hospitality industry are reducing the use of plastic-related products," Sun explained.
The group started a sustainable travel campaign in July 2022. So far, it has reached over 10 million tourists around the world through hotels, plane tickets, car rentals, and business trips.
The goal is to create at least 10,000 low-carbon tourist products.
Orders for energy-saving tour products went up by 130 percent from one year to the next, and the amount of carbon dioxide that was saved was equal to planting 270,000 trees each year.