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Category Archives: Tourism

Chart: Hong Kong Inbound Arrivals in October Each Year

Chart: Number of Monthly Visitors to Hong Kong

Insulated from the Economic Slowdown, Retirees Have Become the Driving Force of China’s Struggling Tourism Industry

Fan Yiying wrote . . . . . . . . .

Zheng Peijun hasn’t let China’s “zero-COVID” restrictions stop her having a good time.

Before the pandemic, the 60-year-old used to go on vacations all over the world: to the United States, Southeast Asia, and a dozen different European countries. This year, she’s had to stay within China, but she’s traveling even more than before.

This week, she’s spending the National Day holiday hiking with her family on Shanghai’s Chongming Island. Last month, she joined a few friends on a tour of the southeastern Fujian province. She’s now going on at least 10 trips to destinations around China per year, which is costing her around one-third of her pension, she said.

“I have time and money, and I always loved traveling,” Zheng told Sixth Tone. “But I couldn’t do it when I was working with a busy schedule.”

Seniors like Zheng have emerged as the driving force of China’s tourism sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have remained one of the few bright spots for an industry that has been decimated by the country’s draconian lockdown policies and a wider economic slowdown.

China’s economy is predicted to grow just 2.8% this year, a sharp drop from last year’s 8.1% growth. The tourism sector has been hit particularly hard: flight and train bookings have fallen dramatically for this year’s National Day holiday, which coincides with the Double Ninth Festival — also known as the “senior citizens’ festival.”

Yet the elderly have been a reliable source of demand. Unlike young people, they have been mostly insulated from the downturn in China’s job market. And many have plenty of disposable income thanks to their state pensions and mortgage-free homes.

Pension payments in China are determined based on the average monthly wage and cost of living in each city. Retired workers in Shanghai receive 5,000 yuan ($700) per month on average, and the amount increases annually.

Zhao Wenzhi, the president of a major travel company in southern China, said last month that tourists aged over 50 have driven the recovery in the tourism sector after each major COVID-19 outbreak. Over-50s usually have travel budgets between 2,000 and 10,000 yuan, which makes them a high-spending group, he added.

“Middle-aged and elderly people are less affected by the economy, place greater value on enjoying life, and are willing to increase their travel budgets,” said Zhao.

Last year, online travel giant Trip.com said that per capita tourism spending was rising significantly faster among people born in the 1950s and 1960s than among young Chinese born in the 1990s and 2000s. In September, the company found that travelers aged 60 or over were spending 23% more in 2022 compared with last year.

And the elderly will only become more important as China’s population rapidly ages. According to a report on China’s senior tourism market published in late 2020, elderly people will account for half of tourism spending in the country by 2040.

By 2050, when China’s elderly population is forecast to reach 480 million, seniors will be spending over 2.4 trillion yuan on tourism, up from around 1 trillion yuan in 2018, the report predicted.

The Chinese tourism industry is already adapting to these changes, with many companies launching new packages geared toward elderly travelers. But industry experts say there’s still a long way to go, with unsuitable products and market disorder still plaguing the industry.

Another Shanghai retiree, surnamed Liu, told Sixth Tone he’s stopped joining tour groups after an exhausting trip to southwest China’s Yunnan province.

“It’s supposed to be a place for relaxing, but the busy tour schedule kept me from enjoying it,” the 69-year-old said.

Since last year, Liu and his friends have been traveling with tour companies that cater specially to elderly travelers. They have already taken six trips in 2022, he says.

“We only check out one tourist spot per day,” Liu says. “The rest of the time we chat and enjoy local food.”

Source : Sixth Tone

Chart: China October Holiday Tourism Slips further in 2021

Source : Caixin

Charts: Delta Variant Fear Begins To Dent Travel Industry

Source : Bloomberg and ZeroHedge

CDC updated the notice to recommend travelers who are at increased risk for severe illness avoid cruise ship travel, regardless of vaccination status.

COVID-19 and Cruise Ship Travel . . . . .

Chart: International Travel Goes From Bad to Worse in Early 2021

Source : Statista

Hong Kong Import and Export Jumped YoY in April, 2021

6675 persons arrived in Hong Kong in March

Source : Trading Economics

Tiny Palau Pins Hopes on Taiwan Travel Bubble to Help Virus-wrecked Tourism

Ben Blanchard wrote . . . . . . . . .

Palau is looking forward to opening a travel bubble with Taiwan to help its wrecked tourism industry recover, its president said on Tuesday, offering an economic boost to the strategic Pacific region where China is tussling for influence with loans and aid.

Palau, one of only 15 countries to maintain formal diplomatic ties with Chinese-claimed Taiwan and also a staunch U.S. ally, all but closed its borders last year to keep COVID-19 out despite the economic cost, and has never recorded a case.

Meeting Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei ahead of Thursday’s opening of the travel corridor, Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. said that with U.S.-provided vaccines being rolled out in his archipelago nation of fewer than 20,000 they were ready to play host to Taiwanese.

“We’ve gotten a shot in our arm with the vaccine; by allowing the tourists to come in you give us a shot in the arm for our economy,” Whipps said.

“And that’s very important because as you know many of our people are out of work because we’re very much dependent on tourism.”

Taiwan has the pandemic well under control at home with only 33 active cases, giving Taipei the confidence to allow the bubble. Palau is less than four hours by plane from Taiwan.

Whipps’ trip coincided on Monday with renewed Chinese air force activity near Taiwan, after Beijing rebuked Washington for the presence of the U.S. ambassador to Palau, John Hennessey-Niland, as part of the president’s delegation.

Speaking earlier on Tuesday, the ambassador said it was a “special privilege” to be in the delegation.

“I know that here in Taiwan people describe the relationship between the United States and Taiwan as ‘real friends, real progress’. And I think that description applies to the three countries – the United States, Taiwan and Palau,” he added.

The Pacific is the site of a diplomatic tug-of-war between Beijing and Washington, and in 2019 China snatched away two of Taiwan’s allies there, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.

The United States has accused China of practicing “debt trap diplomacy” in the Pacific, which Beijing denies.

Source : Reuters

U.K. Heathrow Airport Passengers Down 90% YoY in February, 2021

Source : Statista

COVID Vaccination May be Required Before Every Foreign Holiday, Say Scientists

Henry Bodkin wrote . . . . . . . . .

Oxford team believes vaccine passports system is ‘feasible’ but should not be introduced yet because of a lack of uniform standards

A coronavirus vaccination may be required before every foreign holiday under an international system of vaccine passports, experts have said.

The Oxford University team behind a new report believe uncertainty over how long vaccines confer immunity and how well they stand up against new Covid variants could prompt countries to demand proof of a recent vaccination for overseas travellers.

They believe that, overall, a system of vaccine passports is “feasible” but that a lack of uniform international standards means one should not yet be introduced.

In a report, published on Friday in the Royal Society journal, the scientists said more information is needed on the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines in preventing infection and transmission, as well as duration of the protective immunity they provide, in order to establish how long a passport might be valid.

In recent days, government ministers have indicated that they would co-operate with a system of vaccine passports if it allowed Britons to travel abroad.

However, they have said there are no plans to introduce a domestic regime that could regulate whether people get entry to public spaces such as pubs or cinemas.

Christopher Dye, professor of epidemiology in the Department of Zoology at Oxford and one of the lead authors on the report said: “An effective vaccine passport system that would allow the return to pre-Covid activities, including travel, without compromising personal or public health, must meet a set of demanding criteria – but it is feasible.

“If we thought that the duration of protection was just a matter of months, then the sort of criteria that might be introduced – we’re not saying they should be – is that when one travels internationally for a short trip, going on vacation for example, that one is vaccinated each time on that occasion for that particular trip.”

The researchers stressed that a “broader discussion” was needed about some key aspects of the document, such as the need for legal and ethical standards alongside conversations about data privacy.

Prof Melinda Mills, the director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at Oxford and another lead author, said: “Understanding what a vaccine passport could be used for is a fundamental question – is it literally a passport to allow international travel or could it be used domestically to allow holders greater freedoms?

“The intended use will have significant implications across a wide range of legal and ethical issues that need to be fully explored and could inadvertently discriminate or exacerbate existing inequalities.

“International standardisation is one of the criteria we believe essential, but we have already seen some countries introducing vaccine certificates related to travel or linked to quarantine or attending events. We need a broader discussion about multiple aspects of a vaccine passport, from the science of immunity through to data privacy, technical challenges and the ethics and legality of how it might be used.”

The report sets out 12 key points that need to be satisfied in order to deliver a vaccine passport. These include the stipulation that the passports have defined usages, with safeguards against data being used for ancillary purposes.

Source : The Telegraph