China looks beyond Covid as tourist bookings surge for Lunar New Year

China looks beyond Covid as tourist bookings surge for Lunar New Year

BEIJING — People in China are overtaking the pandemic and going on a trip, preliminary data for the Lunar New Year holiday show.

“Pent-up demand is being released as many people rush to scenic spots, watch fireworks and crowd restaurants and hotels,” Nomura’s chief China economist Ting said Thursday. Lu, in a report.

China’s Covid “exit wave” is rapidly ending as official data shows a drop in infections, hospitalizations and deaths, he said. “China quickly achieved herd immunity against Covid, as the government estimates that around 80% of the population has already been infected with Covid.”

The country saw a spike in Covid infections in December, just as Beijing ended nearly three years of strict contact tracing and border controls. The seven-day Lunar New Year, which officially started on Saturday, is the first big holiday since the end of China’s Covid restrictions.

In the country, bed and breakfast bookings have more than doubled from a year ago, while ticket sales for attractions have increased more than fivefold, according to data for the first four days of the Lunar New Year.

The travel booking site claimed that during those four days, hotel bookings and other tourist activities exceeded levels seen for the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.

Mainland Chinese people were also eager to travel overseas.

Flight bookings for mainland travel to overseas destinations in the first four days of the holiday quadrupled from a year ago, while related hotel bookings doubled, said. .

Travel vs major expenses

Learn more about China from CNBC Pro

However, the sentiment can change quickly.

The study found that in just one week at the end of December, survey respondents had become significantly more comfortable venturing outdoors.

“We think this is a very positive sign of resilience and how quickly consumer confidence will improve,” Oliver Wyman partner Imke Wouters said in a phone interview earlier this month. “Retail sales are directly linked to consumer confidence.”