As China downgraded its management of COVID-19 starting on Sunday, China's travel platforms have seen a surge in inbound and outbound orders.
In recent months, the country has made an array of active adjustments to its COVID-19 response, including 20 measures in November, 10 new measures in December, and changing the Chinese term for COVID-19 from "novel coronavirus pneumonia" to "novel coronavirus infection."
The number of inbound and outbound air ticket orders on Sunday rose 628 percent year on year. Popular destinations for inbound flights are Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Nanning, while the destinations of outbound tourists include more than 100 cities in 53 countries and regions, according to Tongcheng Travel, an online travel service provider.
Data from Trip.com Group, formerly known as Ctrip, shows that among orders from Chinese mainland customers, flights from or for Macao, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Phnom Penh have seen a significant increase in popularity since Dec. 27.
During the week of Jan. 2 to 8, Spring Airlines' flight orders from Shanghai Pudong airport to Hong Kong, Macao, Tokyo and Phuket more than doubled from the previous week.
China's inbound and outbound tourism market saw a steady and gradual recovery at the beginning of 2023. Judging from leading indicators such as air ticket searches and travel intentions, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and China's Hong Kong and Macao are likely to be the first outbound tourist destinations to recover, followed by medium and long-distance markets such as West Asia and Europe, said Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy.
Shen Jiani, a senior researcher at the strategic research center of the Ctrip Research Institute, believes that with the adjustment of China's COVID response and entry-exit policies, Chinese tourists' travel confidence will be rebuilt, and tourism consumption confidence will be restored quickly.