COVID-hit China’s domestic tourism revenues fall 28%

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China’s domestic tourism revenues in the first half of 2022 fell 28.2 per cent from a year earlier, official data showed, as COVID lockdowns hit the services sector, which accounts for about 60 per cent of China’s economy and half of urban jobs.

Chinese tourists made a total of 1.46 billion domestic trips in the January-June period, 22.2 per cent lower than the previous year, according to Ministry of Culture and Tourism. In the second quarter, tourist trips fell by a larger 26.2 per cent as the lockdown of the commercial hub of Shanghai and curbs in neighbouring cities restricted people’s mobility.

Affected by COVID, people are increasingly preferring fragmented travel time, shorter travel distance and lower travel budget,” said Ma Yiliang, statistician at China Tourism Academy, adding that the market for long-distance travel has dropped significantly. While many COVID curbs have been relaxed since, and activity bounced back in June, analysts do not expect a rapid economic recovery for the world’s second largest economy this year as Beijing sticks to its zero-COVID policy.

In particular, the imposition of new lockdowns in some cities and detection of a highly-contagious variant of the virus have made businesses and consumers more uncertain. China’s gross domestic product grew by a meagre 0.4 per cent in the second quarter from a year earlier, official data showed.

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