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The globe slows down

By Yang Feiyue | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-02-27 07:18
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Tourists visit the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum scenic area in Nanjing. [Photo by Yang Bo/CHINA NEWS SERVICE]

"Preferential government policies have enabled tourism businesses to shift from pessimism to take measures to save themselves and help each other."

Some companies are engaging in online promotion. Some airlines have provided chartered flights to transport staff members to return to work. And some attractions have promised free tickets to medical workers.

China's biggest online travel agency, Ctrip, has also voiced optimism about a post-epidemic recovery. Its bookings more than doubled a few months after SARS was contained in 2003.

"The mass cancellation of orders doesn't mean they've disappeared. Rather, they're postponed," CEO Sun Jie previously told China Daily, adding that she believes explosive growth will come afterward.

The outbreak can serve as an opportunity for transformation and upgrades, says the CTA's Wu Fenglin. Companies that survive the winter can blossom in the spring, Wu believes.

Jiang Shihua, who's responsible for Utour Group's development in Sabah, Malaysia, also predicts a thaw before summer.

The Beijing-based travel agency has invested in various links of Sabah's tourism-industry chain, including transportation, scenic spots and accommodation.

Chinese tourists previously accounted for about 30 percent of visitors, Jiang says.

But he believes the epidemic will also force local tourism to upgrade.

"We'll use the break to review and improve our work, and offer better services," he says.

Jiang predicts the outbreak may wipe out travel businesses that weren't performing well previously. Survivors will likely get bigger market shares.

"Sabah's tourism has been on the rise. Resources will be redistributed after the epidemic," Jiang says.

"It can level the playing field and give us more opportunities as a relative newcomer."

Xu Lin contributed to the story.

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