If China is modeling how the rest of the travel industry will bounce back from the virus, recent travel data is encouraging. Since Beijing relaxed its coronavirus rules yesterday, data from online reservation service Qunar showed that flight bookings out of the Chinese capital have increased by up to 15 times.
Previously, Beijing had required incoming visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Now that requirement is being relaxed for travelers coming from low-risk areas of the country. With a five-day Labor Day holiday beginning on Friday, China is poised to see its first major tourism spike in several months.
Zheng Liun, a Beijing office worker, was eager to travel to the southwestern city of Chengdu to see the pandas. According to Reuters, Liun said, “It finally happened. I quickly bought a couple of air tickets for Chengu leaving in two days. I’ve always wanted to see the pandas.”
In addition to the leap in air travel bookings, Qunar’s data also showed a quadrupling of searches for various other travel logistics, including hotels. Fliggy, a travel booking platform, saw flight demand to and from Beijing increase by over 500 percent just an hour after restrictions were lifted.
The tourism industry is encouraging a return to travel by introducing a variety of discounts, though some trip booking sites are limiting guests to 30 percent of normal capacity to discourage large crowds.