China’s domestic tourism industry has started to bounce back – but the outbound travel market may not recover fully for two years, WTM Virtual heard.
Ning Guoxin, Vice President at Uni Core Communication, told a panel of China tourism experts that domestic travel will become mainstream, because the outbound market will feel the effects of the pandemic for the next one or two years.
China’s recent National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holiday generated 637 million domestic tourist arrivals during over an eight-day period – about 79% of the amount seen in 2019.
“The psychology of tourist is changing; they prefer somewhere closer and safer within their countries,” he said.
“Outbound tourists now turn to domestic instead of overseas tours.”
Dr Tongqian Tony Zou, Assistant President at Beijing International Studies University, commented: “In the ASEAN region, people will need time to save money they lost during the crisis.
“It will take at least half to one year for people to start taking holidays, while long-haul tourism could take longer.”
He said consumers are opting for shorter, domestic tours, with contactless technology coming to the fore.
Operators in China are adapting their programmes to cater for this shift and have been offering cultural experiences online to maintain their profile.
Other initiatives to boost spending include support for street vendors and stalls, and small businesses catering for the “lipstick effect”, where consumers want to buy less costly luxury goods.
Dr Sun Bo, from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said subsidised ticket prices helped to revive the performing arts in Beijing, and online reservations mean that visitors can book timed slots to avoid queuing at attractions.