China’s tourism business reeling under the affect of COVID-19

Published on : Monday, November 1, 2021

China’s leisure and tourism businesses are reeling under the country’s zero tolerance for COVID-19 as cities with infections or having concerns about the virus have decided to close entertainment venues, restrict tourism or delay cultural events.

Shanghai Disneyland stopped admitting visitors on Monday and Tuesday, and required patrons and staffers in the theme park on Oct. 30-31 to undergo COVID tests immediately, according to local media.

Many cities with local infections, including the capital Beijing, have halted some indoor leisure venues such as internet cafes, chess and card parlours, as well as cinemas, while a number of marathon races, concerts and theatrical performances have been delayed or cancelled.

Cultural and leisure businesses in some cities that have not detected local cases for a few months are also affected. In northern Heilongjiang province, Jiamusi city and Mudanjiang city announced temporary closure of various indoor entertainment venues on October 30.

Yichun, also in Heilongjiang, said tourists arriving from outside for leisure would be barred from entering tourist sites until November 6. The three cities have reported no infections so far from the current outbreak.

In southern Dongguan city, an international exhibition centre suspended the hosting of various events. Last month, the national tourism authority announced the suspension of travel agencies from organising inter-province trips that involve provincial regions with areas deemed to be at higher risk of the virus, and halted dedicated train services linking tourist attractions.

Shares of China’s consumption- and tourism-related companies were down in early trade on Monday. The consumer staples sub-index slipped 1.5%, while the tourism sub-index retreated by more than 4%.

The latest measures are part of the city’s cooperation with a COVID-19 investigation requested by authorities from outside Shanghai, state television reported, without providing further details. A total of 484 domestically transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms were reported between Octobrt 17-31, mostly in the north of China.

Many of the infections have been tourists who travelled across multiple regions have complicated and prolonged contact-tracing efforts. While the cases remains miniscule as compared to clusters outside China, and the rise in local infections in some regions is slower, China is leaving no stones unturned in minimising transmission risks, even at the cost of disrupting businesses and local economies.

Gross domestic product in July-September grew at the slowest in a year, partly due to an outbreak over summer that affected over 40 cities including Nanjing and Yangzhou in Jiangsu province. China’s three biggest airlines on Friday posted deeper losses for July-September due to a domestic travel slump.

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