China opened Covid-19 infection floodgates when it abruptly abandoned its stringent Zero-Covid policy. Following the removal, of these restrictions, the number of cases, primarily those caused by the Omicron variant, jumped up. Reuters quoted a prominent government scientist as saying that over 80 per cent of the country’s 1.4 billion people had been infected. As of January 12, government data reports that approximately 60,000 individuals who had contracted Covid-19 have died while hospitalized. However, this grave healthcare crisis did not deter tourists from the country.
The frenzy that came after a long stay away from travelling ensured that China’s most scenic destinations were inundated during the Spring Festival holiday. With nearly a quarter more trips taken compared to the previous year’s Lunar New Year holiday. This is a week-long celebration of the Chinese New Year, marking the start of a new lunar calendar year and traditionally involving family reunions, gift-giving, and traditional customs and festivals. This year, cross-border travel more than doubled in the first six days of the break.
The culture and tourism ministry’s data pointed towards a total of 308 million tourism trips within China made during this holiday period, the report said. This marked a 23.1 per cent increase from the previous year’s holiday and a recovery to 88.6 per cent of the number of trips taken in 2019.
The financial benefits of this holiday travel boom are also evident. The revenue generated from domestic tourism stood at 375.84 billion yuan or 73.1 per cent of the revenue generated in 2019. Even cross-border travel saw a significant increase, with the National Immigration Administration (NIA) reporting that the first six days of the holiday saw a total of 2.39 million trips made out of and into China. There was a 123.9 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. It’s clear that the travel industry in China is well on its way to a full recovery.
The increased travel could strain the existing healthcare infrastructure and exacerbate one of the biggest Omicron outbreaks in the world. The willingness among the masses to put concerns about COVID-19 aside in favour of travel could be early warning signs of the situating escalating further.
Read all the Latest Lifestyle News here