Tourism in Sanya not affected by coronavirus concerns

By Zhang Dan Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/14 22:45:52

Sanya Photo: VCG

Online travel agencies have so far not seen a big impact from recent COVID-19 cases in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province, as local authorities continue monitoring possible contacts. 

The number of requests for air ticket refunds and changes related to Sanya rose 20 percent on Qunar, the Chinese travel platform told the Global Times on Monday after two tourists and 43 other people in the same tour group were quarantined in Sanya. The two tourists were found on Friday to be dining with an asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier in a restaurant at the Xi’an airport in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. 

 "Chinese tourists' confidence in visiting Sanya has not changed," Qunar said, saying the number of tourists to Hainan grew 30 percent year-on-year in last two months. 

If there is no virus outbreak, Qunar predicted the number of tourists for the upcoming Spring Festival will increase 50 percent year-on-year. 

Like Qunar, Chinese guesthouse booking platform Tujia told the Global Times on Monday it has not seen mass order cancellations so far. 

"The search volume for guesthouses in Sanya and Hainan has kept rising with the preorders in December surging more than 30 percent compared with November," said Li Zhenni, executive vice-president and CBO of Tujia. 

Thanks to a slew of favorable policies to attract tourists, such as tax-free shopping, Hainan, known as the "Hawaii of China," has gained increasing popularity following the coronavirus outbreak. 

"Due to COVID-19, outbound tourism has come to a standstill, bringing plenty of high-spending Chinese tourists to seek domestic scenic spots and shopping opportunities. Travelling to the island is a popular choice for these consumers," Feng Rao, head of the Tourism Research Center at online travel platform Mafengwo, told the Global Times. 

Since the summer vacation, personalized options in Hainan have gained in popularity. Experiences such as taking a helicopter tour or yacht tour, surfing, scuba diving and paragliding are popular among young tourists, according to Mafengwo. 

As winter approaches, more and more Chinese are flying to the warm beaches in Hainan and Spring Festival is usually a peak season for tourism in the province. 

"The quarantine news may have some impact on group tours as some tourists may prefer independent trips," Ji Zhiying, a travel industry analyst at Beijing-based consulting and research firm Analysys, told the Global Times.

If no confirmed cases appear in Sanya, tourists will still come, Ji said, predicting that tourism revenue in Hainan will recover to 75-80 percent of the pre-coronavirus level. 

From January to October, more than 46.1 million trips were made to Hainan, recovering to 70.57 percent of last year's level and creating revenue of 60.17 billion yuan ($9.20 billion). 

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