China will take time to bounce back from Covid-19: GlobalData

China’s inbound tourism market will take a long time to recover from the coronavirus as the country must work on repairing its brand image, which has been marred due to negative narrative in international media as well as its close ties to the virus outbreak, according to GlobalData.

Pre Covid-19, China was predicted a steady CAGR of two per cent between 2016 and 2020, reaching 63.9 million international arrivals, found the study.

China needs to work on repairing its brand image and assuring tourists that the country is a safe destination: GlobalData; tourists wearing medical masks in Yu Garden, Shanghai this April pictured

However, the fallout from the global pandemic which originated in China has severely impacted China as a tourism destination as well as Chinese travellers.

China outbound tourism is a significant contributor to the global tourism industry, accounting for 159 million global outbound travellers in 2019, according to GlobalData.

Moreover, the Chinese outbound market had the second-highest spending last year, with an expenditure of US$275 billion. As such, the introduction of travel restrictions impacted not only China as a tourism destination, but also many other destinations that rely on high-yielding Chinese visitors.

Amber Barnes, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, said: “China as a tourist destination will not be able to rebound quickly and it is uncertain how long it will take the tourism industry to recover. Additionally, the brand image of China as a destination may be damaged. This is due to the virus starting in China which means tourists may have fear of the destination.”

GlobalData’s latest report, Case Study: Impact of Covid-19 on Destinations, revealed that the predicted forecast of 64 million international arrivals in 2020 will be impacted due to Covid-19. International arrivals were predicted to increase from the 62.6 million international arrivals which China received in 2019.

Barnes continued: “This steady increase will change to reflect a slowdown in 2020. The uncertainty of Covid-19 indicates tourism destinations will take time to recover and travellers will have doubts and fears about travelling in the future.

“Tourism organisations and authorities must promote and reassure tourists that China is a safe tourism destination to attract tourists once Covid-19 is controlled.

“China does have the potential to recover as a destination. The country previously has shown robustness to recover from a pandemic. This was severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) which originated in China and quickly spread globally in 2002. This emphasises that although a lengthy process, the brand image and tourism destination can be restored, provided the relevant DMOs engage travellers with effective campaigns.”

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