China’s hospitality sector expects a huge Lunar New Year boost

 Monday, January 31, 2022 

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The hotels and restaurants in big cities in China are bracing for a rush of guests over the 2022 Lunar New Year as people forced by COVID-19 curbs to give up plans to go home for family re-unions opt instead to stay put and celebrate in other ways.

This year, China is still running on COVID-19 pandemic, but most of the Chinese are travelling to their own hometowns for the Lunar New Year 2022, the country’s biggest family holiday, despite Chinese government plea to stay where they are as Beijing tries to contain coronavirus outbreaks. Beijing recorded its highest number of new Covid-19 cases for a year and a half on Sunday, as the Chinese capital gears up to host the Winter Olympics in five days.

The week-long holiday, which begins on Monday, is a peak travel period in China with millions heading home from the cities they work in to celebrate with families.

But the Chinese local governments are advising people not to go anywhere because of a spate of new Covid-19 clusters, with some authorities making people arriving in their hometowns go into quarantine.

The Chinese authorities have estimated that, based on numbers from 36 cities, that 48 million people who travelled during the Lunar New Year last year will stay put this time.

This has meant that many restaurants in big cities, which usually close for the holiday as all their staff head home, are staying open.

The hotels are seeing an increase in bookings, travel agencies and hotel companies said, especially from customers keen to treat themselves to a little luxury.

The travel search engine Qunar.com said that the more expensive the room is, the quicker it’s booked out, adding that it had seen hotel bookings for the Lunar New Year period triple compared with last year.

The occupancy for the InterContinental Hotels Group is also up across China compared with the holiday last year, the company’s Greater China Chief Operating Officer Jerome Qiu.

The third and fourth days of the holiday period are normally peak demand,” Qiu said. “Based on the current pattern, this year’s strong performance may cover a longer period starting from the New Year’s Eve.”

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