Will summer vacation be a golden time for travel sector amid COVID-19?
For many Chinese, summer means vacationing, and vacationing means traveling. But with COVID-19 still on the loose and mitigation measures keeping everyone on their toes, will rising temperatures heat up the tourism sector?
Last week brought good news for travel agencies and families in the country: tour groups were allowed to hit the road and move between low-risk areas nationwide. Trans-provincial flight bookings and hotel reservations were also given the go-ahead.
The announcement led to a surge in traffic to travel websites. According to Fliggy, Alibaba's online travel agency platform, more than 100,000 trans-provincial group tours, air tickets and accommodation reservations have been sold since.
But offline travel agents weren't as happy. Unlike online agencies that sell flight tickets and hotel rooms independently, offline businesses depend a lot more on selling a package of products, including flights, hotels and other services, for each tour route.
For safety reasons, many tourists are choosing to travel with family and friends in small groups rather than with strangers in large packs, which is what offline travel agencies mostly focus on.