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“The travel and tourism industry, one of the global growth engines, is bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic's damage. To revive the industry, recovery of domestic travel businesses should be the first step,” said Jane Sun, Trip.com Group CEO.
She was talking to CGTN (part of China Global Television Network) as people to China look forward to travelling after months in strict confinement.
Trip.com Group is the largest online travel agency in China and is said to be one of the largest travel service providers in the world.
According to media reports, the company’s chairman, James Liang, is set to commence on a tour promoting domestic travel as the Chinese government scales back the containment measures, including lockdown, which were implemented
CGTN reported on April 3 that Trip.com Group enjoyed surging growth in 2019 but projected a sharp decline of up to 50 percent for its revenue in the first quarter of this year due to the pandemic.
"In the first quarter, January was very strong, but February and March were almost zero. When we look back, we experienced the darkest moment of the travel industry," Sun recalled during her interview with CGTN.
Talking to CNBC, Sun said she was hopeful her company could forge the path to recovery for one of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
““We saw the climb for the travel volume to be up within China, so we’re confident that within a couple of months domestic travel in China will be recovered,” said Sun.
According to media reports, multiple tourist attractions in China welcomed massive crowds during the three-day Qingming Festival holiday which began on Saturday.
During her media interviews, Sun said that initially people will be concerned about travelling but in the long run ‘the impact of the epidemic on travel will be very small’.
“I'm positive that eventually, the whole world will be able to fall out from this crisis mode, moving to a positive zone," she said.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the travel and tourism sector accounts for 10 percent of total jobs and GDP globally. That's an estimated 8.8 trillion U.S. dollars annually. On April 3, WTTC said in a release that 75 million travel tourism jobs are at risk globally due to COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 3, India’s Union Ministry of Tourism held a virtual conference with the industry associations of tourism and hospitality sector. Secretary Tourism Yogendra Tripathi along with senior officials of the ministry spoke to FAITH (Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality), as well as to representatives of CII, FICCI, PHDCCI and IMAI. The industry put forth a number of ideas and suggestions for tiding over the crisis created by COVID-19 in the sector of tourism and hospitality. Here too, the common takeaway was that a lot of thrust on promoting domestic tourism will be needed.
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