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GlobalData warns China’s tourism industry of encouraging premature mass tourism

GlobalData warns China’s tourism industry of encouraging premature mass tourism
April 28, 2020

GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, warns that as life slowly returns to normal in China, travel companies operating in the nation need to be careful of encouraging mass tourism at this early stage.

As attractions across China reopened early April with the lifting of Coronavirus restrictions, visitors flocked to popular tourist sites over the weekend.

The Huangshan mountain range, a popular tourist site in China in the Anhui province, was forced to close in early April after tens of thousands of people visited over one weekend according to South China Morning Post.

The Anhui provincial government offered free entry to 29 sites on Saturday 4th April to boost visitor numbers after months of lockdown. The site took extra safety precautions, such as visitors wearing masks, sharing their health status on an app, and having their temperature checked before entering.

However, the visitor attraction quickly had to close because of overcrowding. Authorities said that the site had reached the daily limit of 20,000 people and urged people to visit the mountains another time.

GlobalData Associate Analyst, Rheanna Norris notes “domestic travel is experiencing a rise and tourist hotspots reached capacity during the recent National Holiday. China is running the risk of encouraging mass tourism before it is safe to do so. Chinese residents have been warned to stay vigilant. Mass gatherings and careless behaviour will undo the positive impact the lockdown had created.”

In terms of inbound tourism, opening borders too quickly may invite a second wave of Covid-19. China is the fifth most visited country in the world, travel companies will be eager to resume flights and promote travel again from those countries without restriction.

While Chinese travellers may still be hesitant towards the idea of a holiday, tourism companies will be reinstating marketing campaigns, trying to instil confidence within the most powerful source market in the world. Although a large proportion of the world remains out of bounds for international travel, domestic travel has, and will start to experience a swift increase.

Norris adds “while the rest of the world is tackling the pandemic at its height, China is showing encouraging signs with residents returning to work and stock markets improving. However, the Chinese government needs to liaise closely with tourism organisations with a heavy presence in the nation to ensure a pent up demand for tourism does not encourage a second wave of Covid-19.”

Image of the over-crowded Huangshan mountain range courtesy of South China Morning Post Youtube

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