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Tourism insiders see growth return in 2021

By CHENG SI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-02-23 09:02

Tourists enjoy a performance at Xiangbei River Scenic Area. [File photo by Qin Fangsi/gxnews.com.cn]

Domestic tourism insiders are bullish on the industry's recovery this year after the severe blow dealt to it by the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

The China Tourism Academy gave its positive estimation in a report released on Monday that said the domestic tourism market will see 4.1 billion trips this year - 42 percent more than last year - generating revenue of 3.3 trillion yuan ($510 billion), up 48 percent year-on-year.

Last year, the industry endured a hard time due to the pandemic. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said domestic tourism revenue dropped by 61.1 percent year-on-year in 2020, with just 2.2 trillion yuan generated for the year.

"Reviewing the market of 2020, the hardest time was the period after the Spring Festival holiday when the coronavirus epidemic broke out," Dai Bin, president of the tourism academy, said at an online news conference on Monday.

"The whole market and operators, including administrative officers, company operators and employees, were puzzled and couldn't even see a clear future for the industry," he said. "But the panic has been curbed in a timely manner thanks to the government and unity of industry insiders."

The pandemic has triggered a global economic crisis that may continue for years and has also brought some changes to people's consumption and travel preferences, as well as management of the tourism industry.

According to the academy's report, increased individual trips and online reservations to attractions have made technology such as artificial intelligence and big data vital to travel plans.

People's rising preference for traveling by car or visiting attractions where there are fewer people and vast lands-for example, Northwest China-has given clues about how the market could change to improve its recovery and future development.

Stagnant outbound tourism also offers an opportunity for the development of the domestic travel market.

The report said more Chinese travelers are making in-depth trips to domestic attractions rather than going for a quick tour overseas. That trend will be enhanced as the quality of domestic tours improves and outbound trips remain suspended.

People's growing desire for travel is another encouragement for the domestic tourism market.

"Now and in the future, we have great confidence in the government's management and prevention work against COVID-19, and are optimistic about the development of the tourism market," Dai said.

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