SINGAPORE – Online travel agency Trip.com is “more confident than ever” that China’s domestic tourism will recover in the long term, executive director Jane Sun said Thursday.
This despite new lockdowns in the country as new coronavirus cases emerge.
“In the long run, we are very optimistic about the recovery,” Sun told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia”. Trip.com is one of the largest online travel sites in China.
She said China saw a “very strong rebound” during the country’s last holiday season in October, and took steps to administer vaccines in high-risk areas.
Communities are also more skilled at identifying and isolating cases in order to control the virus, she said.
“With all these factors in place, we are more confident than ever that the domestic travel business will recover in the long run,” said Sun.
Local tourism in China bounced back as the virus situation stabilized and domestic flights increased year over year in September, according to Reuters.
Tourists take photo of the icefall at the scenic Tianlongchi area on January 9, 2021 in Pingdingshan, Henan Province, China.
Shi Guangming | Visual China Group | Getty Images
Sun noted that coronavirus outbreaks appear to be getting worse in the colder months, but said there had already been “positive movements” in 2021 compared to last year.
“We hope the winter season is the low point,” she said. “If we switch to the spring and summer seasons, the recovery will continue.”
Separately, she outlined consumer trends emerging in the industry after the pandemic.
Travelers are now paying more attention to safety and hygiene, and Trip.com is working with airlines, hotels and tour operators to ensure they are taking the necessary measures.
In addition, tourists prefer packages that offer free cancellation and only want to travel with close family members or close friends, rather than in large groups.
“Smaller bespoke tours grew more than 50% year over year,” said Sun.
– CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.