When will Chinese tourists return to international destinations?

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/11 16:50:14

A face mask on the ground near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France Photo: Xinhua

After months of border closures due to COVID-19, the Maldives has announced it will reopen to foreign travelers from July 1. Greece has also announced it will open to tourists, accepting people from 29 countries including China from June 15. As more and more popular destinations reopen their borders, will Chinese tourists return?

That depends mainly on whether or not the coronavirus pandemic has been brought under control around the world. While the world's common enemy still rages in many countries and regions, it's hard for China to pinpoint a time its citizens will resume international holidays. China's victory against the public health crisis came at a high price, and the country needs to defend its hard-earned victory by all means possible.

China's Foreign Ministry on April 21 suggested Chinese citizens avoid international travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As the country has reported imported cases in recent days, Chinese experts warn a second wave of infections is on its way. China is therefore not likely to suggest its citizens travel internationally in the near future.

International popular destinations source their tourists from many countries. Their coronavirus prevention progress not only depends on local conditions, but also the conditions of the countries tourists are coming from.

Chinese tourists also need to consider risks other than the virus. China has, for example, recently warned students and tourists to reconsider traveling to Australia due to rampant racism and security risks. Chinese tourists are still not advised to visit countries like Australia, even if their coronavirus situations have been brought under control.

For tourism-dependent nations like the Maldives, the coronavirus has dealt a heavy blow to their economies. China has actively suspended debt repayments for 77 developing countries, including the Maldives, as part of the G20's debt service suspension initiative. 

Businesses in the tourism industry, particularly those that mainly depend on overseas business, will face severe COVID-19 uncertainty for one or even two years. As the industry employs a vast number of people around the world, a careful balance between virus prevention and business restoration needs to be struck.

The article was compiled based on an interview with Zhang Lingyun, director of the Tourism Development Academy at Beijing Union University. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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