Global tourism hit by virus onslaught as countries bar Chinese arrivals

By Huang Ge Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/2 17:35:38


More than 60 countries have imposed travel restrictions on arrivals from China as of the weekend after a global health emergency was announced over the novel coronavirus outbreak.  

Analysts said special arrangements from foreign countries to contain the epidemic spread are understandable right now, however the global tourism industry will take a large hit from the absence of Chinese outbound travelers.

Many countries have imposed various levels of restrictions on Chinese travelers or on other foreign nationals. The US, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore said they would bar entry to all foreign visitors who had recently been in the Chinese mainland. 

Some countries including Japan and Malaysia said they would ban entry to anyone who had been in Central China's Hubei Province where the virus first emerged in December 2019. Other countries like the UK, France and Germany also strengthened border quarantine of Chinese visitors.

However, Chinese authorities had already announced the cancelation of all group travel from the mainland on January 27.

"To prevent and control the viral epidemic, we respect such arrangements from other countries. But as China is the largest country in terms of the number of outbound travelers, the ban on Chinese visitors will bring great loss to those foreign countries," Xu Xiaolei, marketing manager of CYTS Tours, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Xu said that 80 percent of products his company offers are for outbound travel, and there were zero bookings at the moment. 

Travel destinations in surrounding countries and regions like Southeast Asian and eastern Asian countries may see a 30 percent decrease in tourism revenue in the short term, Xu forecast, noting that for long-distance travel destinations which receive a mix of travelers, there might be less impact.

Tourism-related businesses like transportation, dining and shopping will see less revenue, he said.

One of China's biggest online travel services provider Group said as of Thursday, the platform has received several million applications for air ticket refunds or rebookings both at home and abroad, according to information sent to the Global Times on Sunday. had forecast that there would be 450 million Chinese traveling abroad during this year's Spring Festival. 

"At this critical point, we can understand why foreign countries have adopted such cautious attitudes. I canceled my trip to France during the Spring Festival," a Beijing resident surnamed Chen told the Global Times on Sunday.

Chen said "it's better to stay at home now to help our country fight the virus."

"We believe that the epidemic will be controlled in the near future with the joint efforts from China and the world. Just as China's economy will return to an upward trajectory after the outbreak, China's opening-up is bound to continue and Chinese tourists will again become the most popular group in the global tourism market," James Liang Jianzhang, chairman and co-founder of Group, was quoted as saying in an article the firm sent to the Global Times on Sunday.

Posted in: ECONOMY

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