Chinese leading travel service provider Ctrip Group swung to a profit of 1.4 billion yuan ($201 million) last year, driven by steady global market performance, according to the company's unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2022 on Tuesday.
For the full year of 2022, Ctrip's net revenue was 20 billion yuan, which remained flat compared to that for 2021, and the net income was 1.4 billion yuan, turning a loss into a profit.
While annual growth was flat, the trends were far choppier in the fourth quarter. The company's net revenue rose 7 percent year on year to 5 billion yuan in Q4, beating market expectations of 4.86 billion yuan, as the domestic business in China remained resilient and the international business continued to show strong recovery momentum.
Outbound air-ticket bookings and hotel bookings increased by over 200 percent and 140 percent year over year in the fourth quarter, respectively, the report showed.
"The year of 2022 marks a turning point for the global travel industry, with most of the travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in China being lifted in December and the global travel industry maintaining its robust recovery," said Ctrip Executive Chairman James Liang at the conference call on Tuesday.
Liang noted he was optimistic about the recovery of the global tourism market in 2023, especially the recovery of the Chinese outbound tourism market, citing data that outbound travel bookings have recovered to more than 40 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
China's outbound tourism is expected to start picking up gradually in the second quarter as international flight capacity recovers, he added.
It has been a full month since the national travel agencies and online travel companies resumed operations allowing Chinese citizens to visit 20 countries for outbound group travel and "air ticket + hotel" business.
From the resumption of outbound travel on February 6 to March 3, Ctrip has launched a total of 7,205 outbound groups and "air ticket + hotel" package products, covering 19 countries and the Hong Kong and Macao regions of China.
Tongcheng Travel platform also showed that in the past month, the number of visa consultations on the platform has increased by 87 percent, and various outbound vacation products have also been fully launched.
"We have seen rapid growth for China's outbound travel since the beginning of 2023, showing a strong pent-up demand for outbound travel," said Liang. "We are excited about the opportunities ahead and are well-prepared to capture demands across our major markets."