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Wuhan a No.1 coveted domestic travel destination for Chinese people

May 05, 2020 | 16:07

Wuhan city was unexpectedly climbed from 8th to No.1 place as Chinese's most coveted domestic travel destination once the pandemic ends, according to a study conducted by China's tourism research center.

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The Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan has become one of the tourist attractions Chinese travelers want to visit the most (Photo: Getty Image)

This might be one of the most unexpected turn of events during the novel coronavirus outbreak, CNN commented.CV

Accordingly, the study on travel needs and trends during the Covid-19 outbreak was jointly conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Tourism Research Center and Tencent Culture and Tourism Industry Research Center.

The results, released on April 28, are based on 15,163 questionnaires, big data from more than 20 million posts on social media accounts and forums as well as a dozen in-depth one-on-one interviews.

Wuhan overtook Beijing as the top domestic city on Chinese travelers' wish list after the lockdown.

The city, closely associated with the outbreak of the virus, ranked only eighth according to the data collected between December 2019 and mid-January 2020. The second place was originally taken by Chongqing.

Chingqing was ranked third, followed by Shanghai and Xiamen. The study also stated that while many people have already canceled any plans to travel domestically, about 72.4 percent of those surveyed said their travel plans are still intact. People are actually expected to take about four trips on average this year, as opposed to about two trips on average in 2019, according to the study.

The hashtag "武汉成为疫情后网民最想去旅游的城市" (which roughly translates as "Wuhan becomes the top city netizens want to visit after the epidemic") has become one of the hottest trending topics on Weibo, with 25,000 discussions and 270 million views on the topic.

"I think the real reason why netizens would want to visit Wuhan is to see the city that has experienced the historical moments. The epidemic situation has imprinted Wuhan on our minds. We have seen the perseverance and industriousness of Wuhan people," wrote one Weibo user using the hashtag.

wuhan a no1 coveted domestic travel destination for chinese people
People visit Yellow Crane Tower after it reopened to the public in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on April 29, 2020. - China has largely brought the coronavirus under control within its borders since the outbreak first emerged in the city of Wuhan late last year (Photo: Getty Image)

Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, became the second most desired province to visit after Beijing province. It wasn't listed in the top 10 before the outbreak. Shennongjia, a 3,253-square-kilometer forest area in Hubei province, and Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan city also rose into the top 20 tourist attractions, according to the study, according to CNN.

Those who want to travel to Wuhan said they would like to "contribute to the economic development" of the worst-hit region in China, according to the research center, as reported by News Week.

"It could be said that the result of the study embodied the deep emotions from the people from around the country, expressing the public's concerns and supports towards the 'hero city,'" Song Rui, the director of the Tourism Research Center told China Daily, a Beijing newspaper.

"COVID-19 has created the greatest challenge the world's tourism sector has seen in some time. The industry is in a slow recovery thanks to the government's strong and effective measures to control the epidemic," Rui told News Week, adding that tourists are still fearful of getting infected when traveling.

Wuhan no longer has any COVID-19 patients in their hospitals after the last 12 were discharged on April 26, according to a report by the South China Morning Post. The city reported a peak of 38,020 hospitalizations back in February.

"With the joint efforts of Wuhan and the national medical aid given to Hubei province, all cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan were cleared as of April 26," Mi Feng, a spokesman for the National Health Commission, said at the time.

China has a total of 82,881 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the country and 4,633 deaths attributed to the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, though critics have questioned whether those numbers are accurate.

How the coronavirus affects Chinese travel

Internationally, Thailand was the destination Chinese travelers wanted to visit the most in 2020, followed by Russia and Japan.

The United States, which had been top of the list, has dropped out of the top ten entirely, following the outbreak.

The pandemic has affected some travel behaviors and plans.

Travelers with children are 30-44% less likely to want to travel with family in 2020 compared with the year before.

Around a third of interviewees said that they would travel again within three to six months after the crisis has passed.

The study also said that Chinese travelers expected to spend RMB5,746 ($813) on travel in 2020, RMB734 ($103) more than last year, CNN reported.

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