Grains are put out to dry on traditional mats in the village of Huangling in Wuyuan county, Jiangxi province. (Photo: Xinhua)
The return of tourism in China is showing good progress, as COVID-19 has initiated modifications in traveling processes and products in the country, according to an industry insider.
"The return of travel may differ from country to country but the pandemic has already initiated modification in processes and products in China," Sandeep Bahl, visiting professor of master of tourism administration at Fudan University.
He said that the modifications are in-line with global recognized regulators and health authorities' recommendations such as self-service, contactless processes, physical distancing, and new cleaning protocols to help restore traveler confidence.
"Airports, hotels and airlines are geared up with biometrics enabled security, check-in, boarding processes, parallel individual reality displays, new standards of cleanliness and use of robotics," Bahl said.
Such trends came after the Chinese aviation-data service app Variflight's data showed that China's airline performance is showing good progress in the return of tourism by acting early and flexibly, working collaboratively with regulators, government bureaus, private companies and stakeholders, gathering market intelligence on consumer needs, their anxiety points and then by recognizing, implementing and support with deployment the identified measures for issues, he said.
"Travel and tourism sector plays a significant role in the China's national economy and supports millions of direct and indirect jobs," Bahl noted.
As the new semester of MTA at Fudan started, he pointed out that students from travel and tourism sectors are preparing to better adapt to changing needs of travelers, use of data and technology, innovative tools and processes to run or manage their companies.
They have mapped all contact and touch points that a traveler has to go thru and un-surprisingly COVID has triggered an overhaul of travel ecosystem in China, he said.
Bahl said, "Early signs of the post-epidemic traveler base in China reflect a younger traveler, with priority requirements of safe, clean, ultra hygiene protocols at hotel properties, airports, airlines and at their destination."
"They prefer directly booking travel with end supplier by avoiding intermediaries, indulging in self driving, self guided travel, and more so for adventure rather than work," he noted.
"They are also more attuned to and expect AI and biometrics-enabled processes at every point of their travel journey, use TaobaoLive, TikTok along with Weibo and WeChat as channels for information related to marketing, product campaigns and discounted travel."
Bahl pointed out this is a significant change as Chinese travelers long have been known as fans of group travel and many hotel properties, airline and tourism products campaigns are designed to cater group travel.