Chinese tourism sector to decline more than one third due to virus: think tank

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/22 1:40:01

Aerial photo taken on April 18, 2020 shows the scenery of ancient Chenqiao Village in Limen Township of Zhouning County, southeast China's Fujian Province. The county boasts numbers of ancient villages. In recent years, it has taken measures to strengthen protection of those villages and ecological restoration around them, helping locals to develop rural tourism and eco-agriculture as part of the efforts to continuously improve rural residents' lives.Photo:Xinhua

Research from a Beijing think tank estimates the COVID-19 virus will dent China's total tourism income by more than 30 percent in 2020 from the previous year, with tourist arrivals cut by 20 percent and a bleak outlook on the coming holidays. 

The conclusion was announced during an online discussion from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in Beijing on Tuesday.

Considering the complexity of the pandemic trend, the spread of the virus and its impact on the school resumptions, it is not appropriate to be too optimistic about a tourism rebound during holidays such as the upcoming May holidays, the summer holidays and National Day holidays, said Song Rui, director of the tourism research center under CASS.

"China's tourism industry has suffered the widest and deepest impact from the pandemic," Song said. 

CASS predicted China will see 3.94 billion individual trips in 2020, a decrease of 34.9 percent from the same period last year, and the country's total tourism income is predicted to be 3.9 trillion yuan ($554.67 billion), a decrease of 40 percent. 

For the coming May holidays, CASS predicted tourism income may drop to 16.58 billion yuan, down 86 percent from the same period last year. 

The key holidays are important for the recovery of the tourism market, but as the virus spreads globally, the situation for the inbound and outbound travel markets has gotten more severe, Song added. 

Song's comments were echoed at a press conference held by the State Council. 

Peng Huagang, spokesperson of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, said on Monday that industries such as aviation, automobiles, and tourism have been hit hard by the outbreak of the new coronavirus. Tourism enterprises have almost completely ceased operations, hotel occupancy rates near the country's scenic spots have declined sharply, and profit reductions are deep.

The China Tourist Attraction Association said on its WeChat account on Monday that in the first quarter of this year, more than 80 percent of income from the same period last year will be lost at scenic spots across the country.


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