Domestic and local-international businesses have been driving China‚Äôs recovery in May, with an auto show in Changsha ‚Äď the capital of Hunan province ‚Äď notching up record sales.
Liu Ping, founder, China Star, shared that three large exhibitions were held in Changsha in May, including the auto show which took place from April 30 to May 5.
Liu said: ‚ÄúSOP (standard operation procedure) for hygiene protection was implemented for the first time for the auto show and a record 2,391 cars, valued at around US$737milion, were sold.‚ÄĚ
She added that local meetings and exhibitions have made up the bulk of business events, with support coming from provincial travellers.
Kris Van Goethem, managing director MICE, leisure and sport, Thomas Cook China, added: ‚ÄúLike most people, we have turned our energy in the short-term to look for local-international opportunities.
‚ÄúAs part of Fosun Tourism Group, we believe in a strong return of business, as China will continue to play an ever important role in the global market.‚ÄĚ
Meanwhile, attractive pricing is helping to shore up domestic business demand.
Cheryl Siow, vice president, global sales, Greater China, Preferred Hotels and Resorts, said its hotels in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, which reopened in May, reported average occupancy rates ranging between 50 per cent and 70 per cent in Shanghai and up to 90 per cent in Chengdu.
She commented that¬†the European Chamber of Commerce, especially Germany, is working with the Chinese government on incoming flights for foreigners, and pointed out that five-star hotel dining was now priced at lower-end establishment levels.
Apart from stricter hygiene and safety protocols, Siow pointed out that Preferred is adopting a flexible policy with free cancellation. Also, China Star‚Äôs Liu commented hotels were offering good discounted rates.
According to industry sources, China started allowing large-scale domestic events since April.
Liu commented: ‚ÄúTravel companies are still not allowed to organise trans-provincial travel, but individuals can travel everywhere in China, except for a couple of high-risk Covid-19 areas.”
She believes that the MICE industry will need time to recover, starting with a rebound in domestic business and followed by outbound and finally inbound.
“We believe it will take two to three years for the industry to return to normal,‚ÄĚ she opined.