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Cross-provincial trips resume ahead of summer holiday in light of stable epidemic situation

2022/6/23 17:29:20   source:Global Times

A dozen Chinese provinces and regions are easing travel curbs ahead of the summer holiday, which is expected to boost the tourism market amid encouraging national policies and constant low levels of COVID-19 infections.

According to media reports, some regions like Central China's Hubei Province, South China's Hainan, East China's Zhejiang and Jiangxi, and Northwest China's Gansu Province, have resumed cross-provincial travel to promote the revival of the market, given the opportunity of the coming summer holiday and the graduation season.

The updates have had an immediate effect on orders for local agencies. According to materials the Global Times obtained from travel agency Ctrip, in the seven-day period that ended on Tuesday, cross-provincial group travel orders surged nearly 300 percent week-on-week.

Orders for flights and hotels through the agency have rocketed since the beginning of June, with the number of average daily orders exceeding the same period last year, Ctrip said.

On Tuesday, Hubei announced plans to allow all travel agencies in the province to resume service. Local agencies are reportedly receiving booming orders, mostly for the famous Shennongjia Forestry District, one of three centers of endemic plant species in China.

The move came after the opening of the Zhengzhou-Chongqing High-speed Railway, which combined to push the search volume of tourism destinations in Hubei to double on the Ctrip website on Tuesday.

The number of pre-orders for cross-provincial group trips to Hubei during the summer holiday rose 346 percent on the platform, according to Ctrip.

Fang Zexi, an industry analyst at Ctrip, said that moves by provinces and regions to adjust cross-border travel demonstrates the pent-up demand for travel as the epidemic wanes and the eagerness of local governments to grab this opportunity.

While making active efforts to resume tourism, local governments remain cautious about the reopening.

On May 31, China's national authority for culture and tourism announced a circuit-breaker mechanism for cross-provincial trips.

Under the mechanism, a county-level region has to prevent travel groups from entering or leaving if an outbreak has occurred in the previous 14 days or cumulative local cases have exceeded 50.

The authority also issued the fourth version of epidemic prevention and control guidelines for travel agencies, which adjusted the application range of the circuit-breaker mechanism from provincial level to county level, along with a more precise anti-epidemic strategy in China.

The circuit-breaker measure will stabilize the tourism market, as it is more targeted, precise and science-based. It covers the county-level tourism market, compared with the previous province- and city-level ones, Fang said.

Industry analysts predict more cross-border trips as the outbreaks in Beijing and Shanghai ease.

Under the circuit-breaker mechanism, cross-border trips are still suspended in Beijing and Shanghai, which are still witnessing sporadic outbreaks.

Beijing reported three new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday as of 3 pm. It was the fourth day in a row that the capital discovered infections during testing in communities after the city declared that the bar-related outbreak has been basically stifled.

Xu Hejian, a spokesperson of the Beijing municipal government, said at the press conference said that these findings indicate that the epidemic situation is still severe in the capital.

The Global Times contacted a hotel in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, and was told that visitors to Nanjing from Shanghai and some districts like Chaoyang and Daxing in Beijing are required to do centralized quarantine for seven days, according to local policies, before checking in at local hotels.

South China's Hainan Province also required visitors from areas of high and medium infection risk to do seven days of centralized quarantine. Those from places with viral transmission potential, for example, the Chaoyang district in Beijing and the Pudong district in Shanghai, must receive a three-day centralized quarantine.

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