Inter-provincial tour groups resume in China ahead of Dragon Boat Festival
Published: May 29, 2022 07:27 PM
A tourist enjoys herself at a cherry garden in Luoqiao Township of Changning City, central China's Hunan Province, March 11, 2022.Photo:Xinhua

A tourist enjoys herself at a cherry garden in Luoqiao Township of Changning City, central China's Hunan Province, March 11, 2022.Photo:Xinhua

With the approach of the Dragon Boat Festival - the last major holiday for the first half of the year - a handful of Chinese provinces have started to resume inter-provincial group tours and hand out travel consumption vouchers to boost an industry recovery from lingering COVID-19 outbreaks.

Several provinces, including East China's Jiangxi Province, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province and South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, have issued notices for the orderly resumption of inter-provincial tour groups.

As the COVID-19 outbreak has been easing in Guangxi, travel agencies and online travel platforms were allowed to carry out inter-provincial group tours, as well as air ticketing and hospitality business, in an orderly fashion starting from Friday, the local government said on the same day. It said the move is intended to raise industry confidence and actively boost the recovery of the tourism sector.

Inter-provincial travel is expected to post a slight rebound during the three-day holiday (from Friday to June 5). Domestic online travel agency told the Global Times that bookings for inter-provincial tour groups on the platform increased more than 20 percent week-on-week over last week.

The domestic civil aviation sector is also expected to welcome a turning point for this year during the Dragon Boat Festival, according to a press release online travel platform sent to the Global Times on Sunday.

Air ticket bookings for the three-day holiday increased by 30 percent month-on-month, with cities, including Guangzhou and Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province, Chengdu in Southwest China's Sichuan Province and Chongqing municipality, reporting the highest levels of growth, according to

Data from also showed that bookings for recreational vehicle trips jumped 60 percent year-on-year during the Dragon Boat Festival.

Partial resumption of tour groups across provinces may play a limited role in driving up the country's tourism sector as a whole, as the recovery of tourism requires an obvious relaxation in travel restrictions and that residents have stable jobs and sufficient income for recreational spending, Zhang Lingyun, a professor of tourism development at Beijing International Studies University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Zhang called for an accelerated rollout of favorable policies to stabilize supply and demand. Aside from intensifying fee cuts for travel agencies, most of which are small and micro-sized businesses, the authorities could dole out travel vouchers or subsidies to stimulate consumption, he said.

Affected by multiple COVID-19 resurgences this year, the recovery of the domestic tourism industry faces monumental challenges. Data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism showed that a total of 830 million domestic tourist trips were made during the first quarter of 2022, down 19 percent year-on-year.

To help travel agencies get through the COVID-19 epidemic that has caused many booking cancellations, the Shanghai government on Sunday said that the amount of travel agencies' service quality deposits to be refunded will be raised from 80 percent to 100 percent. 

Companies and organizations will be encouraged to entrust travel agencies to conduct party activities, union activities and exhibitions.

Recently, Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region announced plans to hand out travel vouchers worth 30 million yuan ($4.48 million) for use at scenic spots, hotels and transport facilities, and the region will grant subsidies of up to 100,000 yuan to scenic spots that cut admission fees.