Many Chinese travel agencies expect a gradual recovery of China outbound tourism in six to 12 months, according to a recent report by ITB China which examined the planned travel behaviour of the Chinese in the coming post-Covid recovery phase.
The 2020 China Market Recovery Special Edition is based on a survey among 200 Chinese outbound travel agencies and travel companies, including interviews with several industry experts.
Asked about the recovery of the Chinese outbound travel market, 43 per cent of those surveyed expect that outbound travel will recover within the next nine to 12 months. Some 33 per cent think it might take six to nine months, whereas 20 per cent believe it will take three to six months. Only four per cent expect to see a recovery within the next three months.
Eduardo Santander, executive director of the European Tourism Commission, said: “China was hit first and should therefore be one of the first countries to recover, which would prove to be positive for European-Chinese tourism cooperation. By the time Europe can go back to normal, China might be ready for longhaul travel again. We expect the European travel industry to recover in 2021.”
In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, Chinese travel operators and outbound travel agencies have been gearing up for recovery by restructuring their operations, engaging in internal employee training programmes as well as maintaining close external communication with partners and customers.
The survey revealed that even with the suspension of business during the outbreak, travel agencies and travel-related companies have proactively and consistently communicated with their customers. Some 66.5 per cent of the respondents communicate with stakeholders weekly, while 16.5 per cent share updates every two weeks, and 17 per cent communicate on a monthly basis.
James Liang, Trip.com group chairman, said: “Different measures taken by different countries and territories will hinder international travels, which will impose certain pressure on short-term upward tendency. However, in the long run, the industry is extremely resilient and any irreversible change is highly unlikely.”