China’s State Council issued a series of new pandemic control measures on December 7, relaxing restrictions on travel and boosting the search volume on domestic ticketing platforms.
The 10-point notice declared that negative nucleic acid test results and health codes will no longer be checked for cross-regional travelers. Except for nursing homes, welfare homes, medical institutions, nurseries, primary and secondary schools and other special places, it will not be required to provide negative tests or green health codes. Non-high-risk areas shall not restrict the flow of personnel, and high-risk areas may not be blocked off without the risk of community transmission.
The search volume for air tickets on Trip.com, a popular booking services provider, soared by 160%, among which searches for flights on the eve of the Spring Festival soared to their highest point in three years. The search volume for air and train tickets on TravelGo also increased by 438% and 276%, respectively.
According to data by Qunar.com, after the notice was released, the search volume for flights increased by seven times. The most popular destinations were Sanya, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chongqing, Harbin and Changchun. The search volume for train tickets increased fivefold, and the top five most popular destinations are Chengdu, Changsha, Zhengzhou, Wuhan and Chongqing.
The coming month is generally the peak travel season. On the morning of December 7, the Office of the State Council officially announced the New Year’s Day holiday in 2023, lasting from December 31 to January 2. Two weeks after the holiday, the Spring Festival will come.
According to Trip.com data, from 10:00 to 12:00 after the New Year’s Day holiday notice was issued, the search volume of air tickets and hotels increased by six times and seven times respectively compared with the same period of the previous day. As of 12:00 on December 7, the top five cities with search popularity on New Year’s Day were Shanghai, Sanya, Beijing, Macau and Hangzhou.
Many tourists have begun to plan their trips next year. Trip.com’s travel search popularity in 2023 this week increased by more than 900% compared with the same period of last year, reflecting users’ optimistic expectations for next year’s travel. With the change of policies and the recovery of people’s confidence in traveling, the tourism market during the Spring Festival and next spring is gearing up for a rebound.