Trip.com says it’s ‘more confident than ever’ in resuming long-term travel to China

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SINGAPORE – Online travel agency Trip.com is “more confident than ever” that China’s domestic tourism will recover in the long term, chief executive Jane Sun said on Thursday.

This is despite new lockdowns in the country as new cases of the coronavirus emerge.

“In the long term, we are very optimistic about the recovery,” Sun told TBEN’s “Squawk Box Asia”. Trip.com is one of China’s largest online travel sites.

She said China experienced a “very strong recovery” during the country’s last vacation in October and was taking steps to administer vaccines in high-risk areas.

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Communities are also more experienced in identifying and isolating cases in order to control the virus, she said.

“Taking all of these factors into account, we are more confident than ever that the domestic travel industry will recover over the long term,” Sun said.

Local tourism in China rebounded when the viral situation stabilized and domestic flights in September increased from the previous year, according to Reuters.

Sun noted that coronavirus outbreaks appear to be worsening in the colder months, but said there had already been “positive moves” in 2021, compared to last year.

“We hope the winter season will be the low point,” she said. “When we move into the spring and summer season, the recovery will continue.”

Furthermore, she described the consumer trends that emerged in the industry after the pandemic.

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Travelers are now paying more attention to safety and health, and Trip.com is working with airlines, hotels and tour operators to ensure they take the necessary measures.

Additionally, tourists prefer packages that offer free cancellation and want to travel only with close family members or good friends, rather than in large groups.

“Small bespoke tours have grown over 50% year over year,” Sun said.

– TBEN’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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