Travel search volumes surge 500% as Chinese group tours resume

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/15 9:12:02

Tourists buy specialty snacks during an evening visit to the Zhuquan Village scenic area in Yinan County of Linyi, east China's Shandong Province, June 25, 2020. The Zhuquan Village scenic area is open to tourists during the Dragon Boat Festival national holiday with COVID-19 prevention and control measures applied. (Xinhua/Fan Changguo)

Search volumes for group tours and self-guided travel skyrocketed by 500 percent after China announced Tuesday to resume group tours across the country, while overseas tours remain suspended, data from travel agency showed.

China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a circular on Tuesday resuming group tours across the country, while overseas tours remain suspended.

In order to check the spread of the coronavirus, each provincial (regional, municipal) cultural and tourism department can resume group tours and flight ticket plus hotel booking for travel agencies and online tourism enterprises with the consent of the local party committee and government, read the circular posted on the ministry's website.

Overseas tours remain suspended for the time being.

The cap on visitors traveling to scenic spots has been adjusted up to 50 percent from the previous 30 percent of maximum capacity, according to the ministry.

"As the most representative tourism product, group tours will lead the whole sector's full resumption," said Gou Zhipeng, president of Chinese online travel agency

There are more than 5,500 group tour products on, waiting to kick off sales following approval from the relevant department, the company told the Global Times on Tuesday.

As of 9 pm on Tuesday, online searches for group tours increased fourfold on, with tours to South China's Hainan island, Southwest China's Yunnan Province and eastern China being the most popular destinations.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism required the suspension of travel products nationwide in an effort to reduce passenger flows amid the novel coronavirus outbreak in January.

Travel agencies and online travel service providers were asked to cancel group tours and travel packages that included flight tickets and hotels.

China's tourism industry has been hit hard and suffered enormous losses during the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of the year, but with the virus gradually coming under control in the country, the tourism market is expected to recover in the second half of the year.

A survey by the China Tourism Academy showed that 80.22 percent of Chinese respondents have the willingness to go traveling in the third quarter, recovering to 90 percent of the level in the previous year.

According to a separate report by travel agency, consumers would like to spend more time and money on traveling and holidays in the second half of the year, including long-range trips within the country.

Over half of consumers surveyed by said that if overseas tours cannot resume by year end, they will take more trips in the country.


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