Tourists from Shanghai itching for summer travel
More domestic destinations are relaxing travel restrictions on tourists from Shanghai as the metropolis is getting COVID-19 under control, and experts expect the pent-up tourism demand of Shanghai residents will be unleashed in the coming months.
After Gansu and Hainan provinces loosened their grip on travelers from Shanghai, cities including Sichuan province's Chengdu, Yunnan province's Kunming, Zhejiang province's Hangzhou, and Fujian province's Xiamen followed suit, making air tickets and hotel bookings popular among Shanghai travelers to these destinations.
On Monday, online searches for flights to Chengdu rose 26 percent from a week ago, and the search amount on platform Trip.com for Hainan surged 47 percent on Monday from that of the previous day, according to Chinese travel service provider Trip.com.
Direct flights from Shanghai to Sanya, Hainan operated by several aviation companies have adjusted back to the full price of 3,600 yuan from that of about 1,200 yuan, while high-end hotels charged twice the previous price, according to the Shanghai Observer.
Currently, the average cost for a high-end hotel room in Sanya is between 2,000 yuan and 3,000 yuan per night, and all the rooms are fully booked for this weekend at those popular hotels, said Zhao Huanyan, chief knowledge officer at Huamei Consulting Group based in the southern city of Shenzhen.
"Although this is not a good season for traveling to Hainan, tourists from Shanghai still show great enthusiasm for the tropical province thanks to the relaxed travel controls. Along with similar changes in travelers' requirements, more Shanghai people will take trips to cities outside Shanghai, especially as summer vacation is arriving," said Zhao.
Xie Xiaoqing, a senior researcher with the Trip Research Institute, noticed that quite a few cities have launched creative marketing activities to welcome Shanghai tourists.
"As the condition of COVID-19 prevention and containment is improving, travel demand among Shanghai people will quickly pick up during the upcoming summer vacation," Xie said.
"There is gigantic travel demand, which will be materialized by appropriate policies and measures in supporting such requirements, be it for long-distance travel, short trips to neighboring cities of Hangzhou and Suzhou, Jiangsu province, as well as to local scenic spots such as Shanghai Disneyland," said He Jianmin, a professor specializing in cultural and tourism research at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.
He suggested the process may be gradual for the tourism sector to gain more experience in striking a balance between supporting rational travel while containing the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to its large tourism demand across the nation, Shanghai is also among the top destinations for tourists from outside the city, said Xie. She added there will also be a rise in trips to Shanghai as the recovery of cross-province travel improves.
Cheng Youquan, deputy director of the National Health Commission's supervision bureau, said at a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday that the commission has noticed that some local authorities have recently placed random restrictions and quarantine measures on people from Shanghai or other areas previously hit by COVID-19. Such measures should be rectified immediately by following the latest COVID-19 control measures.