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Tourism Will Take Time to Recover

Source:China Daily Published:2020-04-22 15:10

A 30-meter-long kite is flown at a park in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, in April, 2020. [Photo by Cui Xiao/For China Daily]

High travel expectations over the next few months inappropriate, report says

The tourism sector will take a long time to recover as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak's severe impact on tourism-related businesses, according to a report issued on Tuesday.

The Tourism Research Center, under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, released a green book saying that the novel coronavirus has brought a shock to the sector not felt since before the reform and opening-up policy in the late 1970s.

The World Travel and Tourism Council said on March 25 that the pandemic will lead to unemployment for about 50 million people involved in the industry globally this year, accounting for 12 to 14 percent of all tourism workers, as travel has significantly decreased due to the coronavirus outbreak.

According to data from the tourism research center, domestic trips in 2020 will fall by 35 percent year-on-year, to only about 3.9 billion. Revenue generated will also see a sharp decline of 40 percent this year, with projected revenue of about 3.9 trillion yuan ($550 billion).

The impact on tourism jobs will also create a great challenge for the government in its efforts to stabilize employment as most of the employers in the industry are small and medium companies that are less capable of withstanding the blow from the pandemic.

In 2018, there were about 80 million people working in the sector, about 10.3 percent of the nation's total workforce.

Since the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday earlier this month, the tourism market has been gradually improving, though numbers of visitors and revenue generated are still down compared with the same period last year.

However, the tourism research center said that the public should view the resumption of the tourism market in a more rational way.

According to the research center, the tourism market didn't experience an obvious rebound after the SARS epidemic ended in June 2003. Data show that the number of trips taken during the National Day holiday that year were only 1 percent higher than during the previous year.

Overly optimistic travel expectations for the approaching Labor Day holiday, summer holiday or even National Day holiday are inappropriate as the COVID-19 pandemic is a more complex situation with more areas affected.

Song Rui, dean of the research center, said at an online news conference on Tuesday that holidays, however, are of great importance to the recovery of the tourism market in the short term.

She said that the negative impact that the coronavirus outbreak has brought to the domestic sector will decrease as time passes, but the inbound and outbound tourism market will continue to face challenges as the pandemic expands globally.

Editor:Zhao Xichen