As China’s coronavirus restrictions ease, residents look domestically to travel

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Travelers wearing face masks and suits to protect against the spread of coronavirus walk past a display screen at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport.
Photo: Ng Han Guan/AP

As China slowly eases lockdown restrictions and life returns to somewhat normal conditions, residents have once again started travelling.

From the Bund waterfront in Shanghai to scenic Huangshan Mountain park in the eastern Anhui province, major landmarks across the country welcomed thousands of visitors over the weekend.

But an uptick in domestic sightseeing doesn’t necessarily mean international travel will rebound as quickly.

At least not according to a recent study conducted by the Group, China’s largest online travel agency.

Based on a survey of 15,000 people across 100 cities in China at the end of March, the company found that 16 per cent of respondents will be ready to travel again in May in time for Golden Week, a five-day public holiday.

However, the vast majority – to the tune of 90 per cent – would prefer to travel domestically, with destinations like Yunnan, Hainan island and Shanghai sweeping the top three preferences.

“China is recovering well. Wuhan’s lockdown will be lifted and at the same time, everyone around the world is fighting against Covid-19,” Jane Sun, the CEO of Group, said.

“With the national holiday, we feel that May is a good time for travelers to go domestic since many countries have closed off their borders.”

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