Chinese outbound tourism will not recover to pre-coronavirus levels until the second quarter of 2021, says Economist Intelligence Unit. Asean will be hurt the most as the number of Chinese tourists to these destinations will drop by 30 to 40 per cent and cause revenue losses of US$7 billion
The coronavirus outbreak could cost the global tourism industry about US$80 billion in lost revenue, with players warning that the sector is unlikely to recover for at least one year.
With millions of Chinese cancelling travel plans, or delaying future holidays over safety fears because of the disease, now called Covid-19, online travel companies like Expedia and Tripadvisor are already forecasting a drop in revenues, which could ripple into everything from hotels to retail outlets abroad.
As of January 26, Chinese outbound flights booked worldwide from January 21 to February 17 fell 13.8 per cent compared to the year before, according to ForwardKeys. Bookings for March and April are already down by more than half, and consumers are delaying travel plans for the summer.
Hotel revenues have decelerated in the first month of 2020, compared to the fourth quarter of last year, due to a drop in overall travel spending and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, according to Ernst Teunissen, chief financial officer. The hit further weighs on revenues that were already declining in the fourth quarter.
As travel falls, many luxury hotel chains have waived fees to change or cancel bookings in China, with some extending the service worldwide.