Experts urge efforts to cushion coronavirus blows to tourism
A security guard stands at the closed gates of the Forbidden City in Beijing, April 19, 2020. /AP

A security guard stands at the closed gates of the Forbidden City in Beijing, April 19, 2020. /AP

Experts called for efforts to mitigate both the short-term and long-term impacts of the coronavirus epidemic on tourism in a recent report reviewing China's tourism in 2019 and predicting new trends in 2020.

The COVID-19 epidemic took the heaviest toll on China's tourism since the country adopted the reform and opening-up policy in the late 1970s, said the report released by the Tourism Research Center under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The research center predicted that domestic trips in 2020 would fall by close to 35 percent year-on-year to about 3.9 billion if the epidemic could come to an end in early June. Revenue generated was likely to slump 40 percent this year, according to its estimation.

Given that the sector gathers a vast number of small and medium-sized businesses and creates jobs particularly for women, the young and rural surplus labor, experts compiling the report suggested strong and targeted support to help tourism-reliant businesses tide over the crisis amid efforts to stabilize employment.

As for the long run, the experts advocated for a new round of reform and opening-up in the tourism sector in pursuit of sustainable and high-quality growth.

They also cautioned against market rally optimism after the epidemic ebbs by citing domestic travel data during the National Day holiday following the ending of the SARS epidemic in June 2003.

Overly optimistic travel expectations for the approaching May Day holiday, summer holiday or even National Day holiday are untenable as the COVID-19 pandemic is a more complex situation with more areas affected, experts noted. 

Read more: Tourism takes a pounding from COVID-19

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency