Travel TrendsPeople are choosing to drive or take the high-speed train rather than fly post-Covid19

Stay-at-home Chinese will let the train take the strain

Chinese high-speed trains are attracting domestic travellers
Chinese high-speed trains are attracting domestic travellers Photo Credit: Gaihong Dong/iStock/GettyImagesPlus

LONDON – This year is likely to be the Year of the Staycation in China – and train travel will likely play a part in keeping people closer to home, according to ForwardKeys, the travel analytics company.

Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, ForwardKeys, says he sees staycations dominating travel in 2020 for two principal reasons. “First, in China (and in other countries too), the rules applying to international travel are continuously changing, which inhibits consumers from planning and booking a vacation abroad.

“Second, people are generally reluctant to give up on a holiday; so, if a domestic break is all they can get, many will settle for that.”

Mr Ponti said with regards to international travel, the current strict restriction which limits 134 flights a week is due to be eased in the coming months, according to China’s aviation authority’s statement on 27 May.

“However, at this stage, the increased capacity is mainly intended to accommodate the demand of overseas Chinese to return home. I regret that there is no sign yet of a recovery in Chinese outbound tourism,” he added.

ForwardKeys notes that domestic air travel in China, which has been recovering slowly in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, has now reached more than 50% of what it was at the equivalent moment in 2019, based on issued air tickets.

“While all this sounds encouraging, it is likely that a stronger recovery is underway in the hospitality sector, with many people choosing to drive or take the high-speed train rather than fly,” Mr Ponti added.

“According to the Travel Willingness Survey conducted by China Tourism Academy and China’s online travel agency Ctrip, in March 41% of travellers said that they would travel by car once the coronavirus outbreak had been contained, 29% would travel by train, 16% would take a coach trip and only 14% would fly.”

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