China’s Tourism Industry Treads Carefully with Resumption of Group Tours

China has restarted the promotion of overseas travel packages as the government aims to revitalize the struggling tourism sector. A test offering “flight ticket + hotel” packages to 20 destinations, mainly in Southeast Asia, began on Monday.

The nation’s tourism industry has been suffering since its borders were shut in March 2020, and quarantine measures were put in place under the country’s “zero-Covid” strategy. In 2019, tourism contributed 11% to China’s GDP, however, by 2021, it had plummeted to 3.96%.

Despite the recent resumption of group tours, Zou Feng, the general manager of Guangdong CTS Travel Agency, says that “revenge” spending is unlikely to occur this month as potential travelers are more cautious and need more time to assess the overseas environment.

Li Wei, a 29-year-old white-collar worker from Shanghai, also cited budget considerations as a primary concern. However, airlines are reopening international and regional routes to meet growing demand. Jiang Zhuohui, a 36-year-old schoolteacher from Shanghai, has no plans to travel abroad due to potential Covid-19 outbreaks. Recovery of the tourism industry is expected to be gradual, with a boost in the second quarter.

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