Hainan, China Adjusts COVID Prevention Measures, Tourism Soars

With Hainan being a popular tourist destination in China, many domestic tourist platforms showed that orders of air tickets and hotels soared after the province adjusted its pandemic prevention and control measures. According to Chinese travel platform Qunar.com, within one hour after the announcement was released, the search volume of air tickets to Sanya, Hainan Province increased by 1.8 times and the booking volume increased by 3.3 times compared with the same period of the previous day. Hotel bookings in the city also surged three times compared with the previous period.

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Previously, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in many cities across the country, many local governments took up prevention and control measures such as restricting transportation and implementing quarantines, which led to a sharp drop in tourism. With the recent adjustment of polices in many places across the country, domestic tourism has begun to recover.

In addition to Hainan, since December 5, many places, including Shandong Province, have cancelled the requirement of compulsory nucleic acid testing in transportation stations, ports and highway entrances and other places, while continuing providing other necessary COVID testings.

The pandemic prevention and control measures have been optimized, boosting people’s willingness to travel. According to Trip.com, the average one-way price of domestic air tickets (fuel surcharge included) from December 1 to December 4 was 863 yuan, an increase of 15% from the same period of last week and nearly 40% from the same period of last year. The departure and destination of popular domestic routes are Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou and Chengdu.

More than 80% of users prefer short trips with this type of trip being booked often for Zhejiang, Guangdong, Shanghai, Beijing and Hainan.

Some consumers are still waiting to see how cross-provincial tourism develops, but they are more likely to consider short trips on weekends. According to a report by Jiemian News, an interviewee from Beijing thinks that although the policy has been altered now, it is difficult for them to take cross-provincial trips because they have few if any holiday time off now. If they have the opportunity on weekends, they would choose to drive with friends to the suburbs of Beijing.

In terms of policy, CCTV News, a Chinese state-owned broadcaster, reported on the evening of December 5 that Tong Zhaohui, an authority and the director of the Beijing Institute of Respiratory Diseases, said that the proportion of pneumonia or severe illness caused by the Omicron variant is lower than that caused by influenza. Xinhua News also posted an article pointing out that the most difficult period has passed, and now the pathogenicity of the Omicron variant is weakening. Furthermore, the Chinese mainland’s coping ability is increasing which lays the foundation and provides conditions for continuously optimizing prevention and control measures.

Reuters reported that the Chinese government may announce 10 new COVID easing steps as soon as December 7, and may downgrade the management of COVID-19 from the current highest level of Class A infectious diseases to the less stringent Class B infectious diseases as soon as January next year.