Chinese domestic flights and hi-speed train links are back to their pre-virus levels of volume and there is still a strong demand for travel with 100 million trips in the first week of May and 80 million in the three-day Dragon Boat festival in June.
However, a fast return to international travel is now looking unlikely given the virus is still not under control and air travel is extremely restricted, Prof. Wolfgang Arlt, head of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute said on a webinar organised by Buzz Travel.
Arlt said in the next 12 to 18 months hygiene and sanitation will play a central role in regaining the trust of Chinese guests.
The Chinese outbound traveller is the biggest source market for Asia’s casinos and reopening the borders to allow travel will be key to recovery.
Prof. Arlt said there have been changes in the preferences of the Chinese traveller post the virus, with a greater emphasis being placed on family travel. There is also a greater emphasis on nature experiences and experiences in general, rather than shopping.
They also want to have more contact with locals, but don’t want to travel to overcrowded places.