The resurgence of the coronavirus sends shivers through the summer tourism market
China’s domestic tourism market experienced an unexpected and brutal summer âcoldâ. The novel coronavirus outbreak in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, has been a blow to the fragile market which was recovering with the decline of the pandemic.
The summer vacation period has traditionally been a peak for travel due to the growing number of family tourists with children, but the latest coronavirus outbreaks across the country have suddenly made a difference.
“This year’s peak in summer travel, which started around July 10, only lasted about 10 days, and cancellation requests kept coming in, marking the end of the season. summer tourism, âsaid Zhou Weihong, deputy general manager of Shanghai Spring Tour.
Zhuzhou city in central China’s Hunan province closed cinemas, entertainment venues and tourist sites after reporting new asymptomatic coronavirus infections on Friday, and Zhangjiajie city in the same province on Friday. has also closed all of its tourist sites.
Zhengzhou, in central China’s Henan Province, has suspended the operation of all A-level tourist attractions.
Tourism operators have been offering full refunds or free booking changes to travelers in areas at high and medium risk of COVID-19 since the end of July, following a wave of new cases in some national cities.
“Even the mothers of my son’s classmates started to introduce me to new jobs in fear that I might not survive,” said a staff member at a large online travel operator who wished to remain anonymous .
“It’s really difficult for the recovery of the tourism industry and its staff,” she said.
Yu Linxia / BRILLIANCE
Amy Wang, a local media worker, recently canceled a trip to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region for which she had purchased plane tickets and booked most accommodation.
âI had planned to travel along the Duku Expressway and the only travel season is summer, which is really a regret now and I have to postpone it until next year,â Wang said.
Tour operators’ customer service staff are busy dealing with an avalanche of cancellations, working more than 10 hours a day for over a week.
“The upsurge in the virus is causing heavy financial losses,” said a Shanghai-based Trip.com outlet worker who was bombarded with claims.
Additionally, the worker said, travel bookings are almost closed for the next two months to protect the safety of tourists and the actual pick-up date has yet to be released.
A staff member at a Haitian travel agency outlet in the Xujiahui area said they were busy, but not with reservations.
âWe are busy processing reimbursement requests, and around 30,000 to 50,000 such requests have been made to our company daily since the Nanjing outbreak,â she said.
Yu Linxia / BRILLIANCE
“Most schools have instructed students not to take interprovincial trips, and almost all orders involving children have been canceled over summer vacation,” said a staff member at the online travel operator. Tuniu.
“Tourist confidence in consumption is affected in the short term, and long-distance travel is particularly affected,” said Cheng Chaogong, tourism researcher.
Shanghai authorities have ordered tougher and tighter measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The city’s cultural and tourist spots should impose strict reservation, check-in, temperature and health QR code controls, and control the number of visitors, the Shanghai Culture and Tourism Administration ordered.
They should ensure that visitors’ information can be tracked through a health QR code, ID card or reservation and check-in, the administration said.
Travel agencies and online travel operators have been prohibited from organizing tours in high and medium risk areas or from carrying out airline ticket and hospitality related activities.