CHINESE TRAVEL AGAIN, BUT NOT FAR FROM HOME

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the entire tourism industry, and it will take some time for the sector to recover. Italian tourism was particularly struck, also given the importance of the sector for the economy of the country. Some of the numbers are really devastating, with many stakeholders insisting that “we are facing a massacre”. In 2020, the first year of the Covid era, domestic tourism consumption in Italy lost over 63 billion compared to 2019 and 31 billion in added value, as reported by the Italian National Institute of Statistics. This is approximately the levels prior to 2010. These are the direct consequences of the drop of both incoming and ongoing tourist flows caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Overnight stays of foreigners decreased by 54.6 %, 207 million visitors from abroad were missing and much more. The expenditure of foreigners was consequently also heavily affected. Foreign tourists spent 23.7 billion euros during 2020, which is a drop of 59.6 % compared to 2019. Domestic expenditure, in the meantime, fell by 33.8 % to 46.3 billion. Restaurants thus saw their income decreased by an astonishing 69.8 % to 3.2 billion euros, while tour operators and leisure companies registered a drop of 74.5 % in revenues to 758 million. GDP Plunges The state of the Italian tourism industry is quite clear also from the country’s GDP. Italy saw its GDP plunged by 8.9 % in 2020, its worst recession since World War II. Of the 115 billion euros of GDP that Italy lost in 2020 compared to 2019, 27.1 % can be attributed to tourism, i.e. a shortfall estimated at 31.1 billion euros for the sector. All in all, these are quite evidently devastating losses for the sector. With regards to this year, there have been some minor positive signs. Seaside destinations in Italy have registered an average room occupancy of 70 %, with some regions (Liguria and Tuscany) even reaching an occupancy of over 80 %. Positive numbers are also registered in mountain resorts. Some inland areas have also experienced improvements. Rome registered an occupancy rate of 40 % during the summer, while Florence and Venice registered a rate of 50 % and 55 % respectively. Better values than in the past but still far from the pre-crisis period. Outdoor Tourism Booming However, outdoor tourism did better during the summer of 2021, having exceeded the pre-pandemic levels. As note by Campeggi.com, the leading portal in Italy for campsites and holiday villages, from May to August it recorded an increase in searches of 16 % compared to the same period in 2019. This has confirmed the positive trend recorded during the spring, when in the third week of April the portal had highlighted a +54 % compared to the beginning of the month and a growth of 656 % compared to the same period of 2020. The positive trend for Italian tourism continued even after the start of the season. The month of June recorded a 137 % increase of searches for campsites compared to the previous month and further growth in July, where it reached + 224 % compared to May. Interest also comes from across the border. From mid-May to August, in fact, there was a growth of 261 % of German users interested in Italy compared to the same period in 2020. Thus, the volumes from 2019 were exceeded by 10 % in total. Organized Tourism Suffers But not every subsector of Italian tourism is on this cautiously optimistic wave. In particular, organized tourism is suffering this year. “We are facing a massacre. 2021 is not going much better than 2020. Indeed, at this rate the organized tourism segment, in particular, will even manage to do worse than the tragic 2020,” said Franco Gattinoni, president of the Federation of Organized Tourism. In 2019, Italian organized tourism had a turnover of 13.3 billion euros and grew by 4.3 % compared to the previous year. Now, the sector is preparing to close the balance sheet at 2.5 billion euros, over 80 % less than in 2019. The main problem of organized tourism is the fact that there is a general uncertainty with regard to the ever-changing rules. Moreover, there is a lack of perspective which prevents the planning of tourist seasons and makes Italy lose purchasing power compared to foreign competitors.
January 10, 2022
MYANMAR PLANS TO REOPEN TO TOURISTS AMID POLITICAL INSTABILITY
January 10, 2022

After a difficult summer tourist season caused by the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant throughout the country, China’s domestic tourism is set to revive yet again for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival (September 21, 2021).

According to data from the Chinese travel agency Trip com, the Chinese travel industry is growing yet again after a slight hiccup in the last couple of months, with interprovincial bookings made on the website of the agency having increased by 365 % between the end of August and September 6.

Chinese Travel, But Not Far

Travel agency LY com, on the other hand, notes that 800 million Chinese tourists will travel during the festival. Most definitely a significant number, but there is also one very interesting trend noted by analysts.

According to experts, tourists will be mainly focused on spending the upcoming holiday near their home, seeing as there is still a lot of cautiousness with regards to the Covid-19 situation.

Companies that focus on long-distance tourism within the country are currently struggling, as the demand for their services is not high. People currently prefer to travel to destinations that are in the proximity of Chinese metropolises.

Beijing the Most Sought-after Destination

With regards to the popularity ranking of cities, Beijing is on top of the list, as per Trip com. The capital is followed by Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou. What is interesting is that Wuhan, the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, is the 10th most popular destination among Chinese travelers.

With regards to the specific destinations, some of the most sought-after places include the Gubei Water Town in Beijing, the Shanghai Disney Resort, the Yuntai Mountain area or the Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park.