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China focus: tourism seeking paths out of virus doldrums

05/20/2020| 10:35:50 PM|

Revitalizing tourism is not about returning to the past, but adapting to the future.

Despite getting a little tanned, Li Jiaoyang, a 42-year-old arts professional from Beijing, still relishes the leisurely strolls and taste of ripe mulberries amid the tangle of alleys in the ancient city of Kashgar in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

As one of the sectors hit hardest by the epidemic, tourism is making a gradual comeback in China with more and more visitors like Li venturing outdoors. The country is embracing the 10th China Tourism Day, which falls on May 19 each year, with smart efforts to deal with the fallout from the virus.

Online sales promotions of local produce and other tourism products are also gaining popularity. With the pet phase of "Just buy it!", many government officials and entrepreneurs became the brand ambassadors and top salespersons of their tourism products by championing them online.

To minimize contagion risks, many local governments encourage travel to local or nearby tourism spots, with specific ticket discounts and consumption vouchers offered to local residents to boost the regional tourism market.

Regions such as Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region even made "love your hometown and explore it" the theme of this year's China Tourism Day. Shanghai will leverage the reach of OTAs and social media platforms to help tourists discover more about the city's tourism resources and products.

Smart travel services are in high demand. Southwest China's tourism hub Yunnan Province has seen a surge in the use of its smart travel app that enables convenient online reservations, introductions, guides and reviews. Xinjiang also developed a similar app that was put into use before the May Day holiday.

Relying on boosting the number of tickets and trips alone will not work, and technology, culture and service quality will be new growth engines, said CTA's head Dai Bin.

"Revitalizing tourism is not about returning to the past, but adapting to the future," Dai said.

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TAGS: hometown travel | online sale | smart travel
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