This April 13, 2020 photo shows night scene of the Yellow Crane Tower, Wuhan, Hubei province. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
Though severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the domestic tourism market is gradually resuming with people's desire for travel increasing, according to a new report released on Tuesday by the Tourism Research Center under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Travelers with low incomes are especially interested in traveling as hotels and attractions offer lower prices
The report is based on big data and 15,163 questionnaires.
According to the report, Wuhan - the hardest hit city during the coronavirus outbreak - is at the top of wish lists for travelers, who said they want to contribute to the economic development in the region following the epidemic. Beijing was the next most popular choice, followed by Chongqing.
Travelers with low incomes are especially interested in traveling as hotels and attractions offer lower prices. The report said that people in this group are expected to take 3.8 trips on average this year, up from 1.6 trips the previous year.
Further, it is estimated that people will spend 5,746 yuan (US$811) on travel this year, 734 yuan higher than in 2019.
Though some groups of people canceled their trips because of COVID-19, about 72.4 percent of people surveyed said that they still have plans to travel as the epidemic wanes.
According to the report, 9.4 percent of those surveyed set their travel plans during the outbreak, and about 30 percent said that they will carry out their plans within three to six months once the epidemic is over.
Short-distance tours are recovering while outbound tourism lags as people think domestic attractions are much safer than those overseas.
Summer and National Day holidays are prime for vacation and are preferred by travelers, the report said.
"COVID-19 has created the greatest challenge the world's tourism sector has seen in some time," said Song Rui, director of the Tourism Research Center.
"The industry is in a slow recovery thanks to the government's strong and effective measures to control the epidemic," but the resumption of tourism faces obstacles as people stress over safety, cleanliness and possible risks when traveling, she added.
Shu Zhan, dean of the Tencent Culture and Tourism Industry Research Center, said at an online news conference recently that the coronavirus outbreak has thoroughly changed people's view of consumption, which requires the industry to upgrade to meet people's rising demand for higher quality tourism.
Shu said that travelers are placing more emphasis on quality, especially concerning emergency response, social security and health. Moreover, tourism has become more popular as low-income groups and seniors are growing to be potential consumers of tour products.
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