Global travel data co-operative ADARA has revealed figures tracking a rebound in travel in China following the initial COVID-19 virus outbreak.
ADARA has created a COVID-19 Resource Centre that is monitoring search and bookings data as the pandemic sweeps the planet closing down large parts of the travel sector.
Latest insight on the Chinese market shows a significant rebound over the last two weeks as China appears to have got on top of the virus which originated in the city of Wuhan.
China has recorded over 81,000 cases of coronavirus infection with 3,255 deaths, but news reported cases have slowed and just 41 more have been reported in the last 24 hours.
Questions have been raised over the official Chinese data but draconian lockdown measures we are now seeing in Europe appear to have worked, although there are fears of a second wave as Chinese living in abroad where the virus is spreading quickly return.
ADARA says the China travel market started declining from mid-January but that there are now promising signs for a rebound in flights to and from China.
The number of global unique travellers searching for flights to China declined during three weeks in February to only one third the number of searchers in early January.
In the past two weeks global unique searches were up 29% for the week of March 8 compared to the week of March 1.
The total number of searches for flights to China is currently 55% of the volume of searches seen the week of January 5, up from a low of 34% in mid-February.
The average number of searches per searcher has increased in the past month, with an average of 5-6 searches per unique searcher.
Global flights being booked to destinations within China are also rebounding, but at a slower pace.
They are currently at about 30% of the level of flights that were booked to China in early January.
Based on February 2020 data, time from initial flight search to booking data is an average of 13 days. ADARA says it expects that this trend will continue upward.
The data also reveals those who have booked flights to China in the past several weeks are purchasing tickets with shorter booking windows.
Some 58% of flights were purchased 0-15 days before departure versus only 38% of flights in early January.
In addition, the percentage of flights booked for business travel has almost doubled since pre-COVID 19 levels (38% vs 20% in early January).
ADARA says this was to be expected as the Chinese government ramps up its efforts to boost the economy.
Flight bookings from travellers in China have yet to rebound, but ADARA has seen a small uptick in the number of flight searches from Chinese travellers.
Carolyn Corda, chief marketing officer at ADARA, said: “We are seeing subtle but meaningful changes across flight bookings and searches for China travel.
“While it is too early to predict any long term patterns, these insights serve to help travel brands better understand how quickly the market shifts as the Coronavirus evolves.”
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