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Is China travel already rebounding?

Recently released research has revealed a new upward trend in travel data relating to China.

ADARA, a data co-op and leading provider of traveller intelligence, analysed the air and hotel booking behaviour of travellers over the first three months of 2020 and found “promising signs for a rebound in flights within and to China from international origins that align with the trajectory of the [COVID-19] pandemic”. 


For the week ending 14 March, ADARA revealed that the number of unique global travellers searching for flights to and within China rose by nearly 30% compared to the first week of March. 


Forbidden City, Beijing


The number of total searches followed a “similar pattern”, with searches for flights to and within the Asian nation at 55% of the volume of interest seen in the week commencing 5 January, up from a low of 34% in mid-February. 


According to ADARA, the average number of searches per user also grew to five to six searches.


Global interest in flights for destinations within China are also rebounding, “but at a slower pace”, at around 30% of the level of flights that were booked to China in early January. 


On top of all of this, those who have searched for services to China in the past few weeks are looking for flights with shorter booking windows, with three in five flights (58%) searched with a 0-15 day window versus only two in five (38%) flights in early January.  


The figures are even more promising when it comes to business travel, with corporate flight searches almost doubling over pre-COVID levels (38% versus 20% in early January). 


“We are seeing subtle but meaningful changes across flight bookings and searches for China travel,” ADARA CMO Carolyn Corda said. 


“While it is too early to predict any long-term patterns, these insights serve to help travel brands better understand how quickly the market shifts as the Coronavirus evolves.”


According to Chinese publication, technode, China’s biggest online travel agencies have reopened for bookings for domestic holiday packages after a two-month shut down. 


Meanwhile, hotels across the country are going back to business, with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) reporting that 118 properties have re-opened, with just 60 hotels still closed.


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 24 March 2020

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