Where China’s wealthy travelers are going during the pandemic

CNN  — 

The sandy shores of Sanya. The mountains of Yunnan. Giant panda sanctuaries in Sichuan.

Wealthy Chinese travelers may not be able to travel internationally with ease these days, but they have no shortage of attractive travel destinations in their own backyard.

And it seems the country is readying for yet another boom in domestic travel ahead of Golden Week in October.

After more than a month of strict restrictions and lockdowns to stamp out a Delta variant outbreak, China reported no new local Covid-19 cases on August 23 for the first time since July.

Before the outbreak – which was the worst in China since 2020 – domestic travel had been on the upswing.

According to a report by the China Tourism Academy, the sector expected approximately 4.1 billion domestic trips in 2021, reflecting a 42% increase compared with 2020. In addition, the academy has projected $511 billion in revenue from domestic tourism, up 48% year on year.

Meanwhile, an annual survey of high-net-worth individuals by Chinese research firm Hurun Report found that interest in domestic travel jumped 31% year on year and 44% of respondents said they planned to increase their travel spending.