Chinese provinces resume cross-provincial group tours ahead of holiday to boost tourism

The Plaza 66 shopping center on Nanjing road in Shanghai resumed operations on June 1. The flow of people has increased and there are long queues in front of some luxury shops. Photo: Chen Xia/GT

More than ten Chinese localities have decided to restart inter-provincial group tours, after the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) announced more targeted anti-epidemic measures on Tuesday in a bid to boost tourism, while preventing the spread of COVID-19 to come. a three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday starting Friday.

The resumption of inter-provincial group travel does not reflect the country’s success against recent COVID-19 outbreaks, but is also of great significance for the country’s intensified efforts to stabilize the economy, experts noted.

Central China’s Henan Province is one of the first to echo the new policy and announced the resumption of inter-provincial group tours as the province is now a low risk area for COVID-19 transmission. , according to the province’s culture and tourism department.

“With immediate effect, travel agencies and online tourism businesses are permitted to resume inter-provincial group tours and ‘airfare plus hotel’ activities,” read a statement released by the department.

On Wednesday afternoon, a dozen provinces and regions announced the resumption of inter-provincial group tours in addition to Henan, including Guizhou Province (southwest China), Hunan Province (central China), Zhejiang Province (east) and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (south).

Following the policy change, inter-provincial tour orders accounted for nearly 40% of all bullet train travel orders for Friday – the first day of the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, up nearly 10% from the first day of May 1 vacation. , reflecting the gradual release of long-distance travel demand, according to data sent to the Global Times on Wednesday by China’s online travel booking platform Ctrip.com.

Even in Shanghai, as the city lifted its two-month lockdown on Wednesday, the metropolis has also seen the rejuvenation of the tourism sector. The number of hotel reservations in Shanghai on Tuesday has already increased 1.5 times from the previous day, Qunar.com said in a statement sent to the Global Times.

In addition to allowing the resumption of interprovincial group tours, some localities have also announced measures to support the tourism sector, which has been hard hit by the COVID-19 epidemics.

People line up for hours to buy drinks at a store in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality on June 1, 2022. More cities are seeing a vibrant consumer market as the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival holiday. Photo: CGV

Shandong province in eastern China has rolled out support measures to spur the recovery of the tourism industry, including plans to raise 30 million yuan ($4.49 million) to subsidize domestic Category A tourist sites to offer ticket discounts over the next four months and raise $80 million. yuan to support the development of rural tourism.

Shandong is also encouraging financial institutions to offer innovative services to lend at least 10 billion yuan to cultural and tourism enterprises in the province in the current calendar year.

Localities and scenic spots have also launched measures to attract tourists. Xizha and Wucun scenic spots of Wuzhen in Zhejiang reopened to tourists on Wednesday. While fully implementing epidemic prevention measures, it has launched a series of special promotions, according to a statement sent to the Global Times by the Wuzhen Xizha scenic spot on Wednesday.

The targeted measure of the MCT has boosted the confidence of localities to accelerate the recovery of tourism, and the upcoming summer holidays are expected to further boost the recovery of the sector, said Xie Xiaoqing, senior researcher at Ctrip Research Institute.

With new daily cases falling below 100 across the country, recent Omicron outbreaks have been effectively brought under control, which is great news for the tourism industry, especially as the holidays are fast approaching. not, Jiang Yiyi, deputy director of the School of Leisure Sports and Tourism under Beijing Sports University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

More tailored and refined measures should be deployed to prevent the spread of the virus, while minimizing its impact on economic activities, Jiang said, noting that more effective COVID prevention methods and stabilization efforts will further boost the recovery of the virus. cultural and cultural heritage. tourism industries.

The recovery of the tourism sector will lead to the growth of a range of industries such as catering, accommodation and cultural events, Jiang said. “It is very important to boost domestic demand and energize the economy,” she said.

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