(Yicai Global) Oct. 15 -- China’s tourism industry is still attracting hordes of new players despite the Covid-19 pandemic as consumers are increasingly opting for unique experiences.
The number of tourism companies is still increasing with an annual growth rate of more than 20 percent, according to corporate data provider Tianyancha. The country has over 4.4 million companies in the sector, and 68 percent of them were established in the past five years. This year, around 335,000 tourism companies were formed.
The sector is transforming with increased corporate consolidation and changing consumer preferences. Reorganization in the industry, which used to consist of large travel agencies and tour group operators, has become common as buyers of culture, entertainment, and tourism services are becoming increasingly demanding.
Merging and reorganization are becoming an industry trend as consumers' interests are increasingly diversified and the old way of offering sightseeing services is no longer sustainable, Qu Jia, analyst who has been working in the sector for nearly two decades, said to Yicai Global.
Evidently, Trip.Com Group, a large travel agency, has acquired stakes in rivals in Elong, Qunar.Com, Tuniu, and Tongcheng Travel Holdings. Moreover, the flight seller has expanded its scope to accommodation and tourist attractions. Tongcheng Travel, which merged with Elong in 2017, has begun investing in hotels to get closer to its clients.
"During my 27 years in the tourism sector, the recent decade has been the one with the most efficient internal synergy and the quickest formation of links between upstream and downstream parts of the supply chain," Zhou Weihong, deputy general manager of Shanghai-based travel agency Spring Tour, said to Yicai Global. Even takeout giant Meituan has joined the game, Zhou said.
Indeed, services are becoming more differentiated as there are specialized trips for kids and parents, best friends, wedding couples, and single travelers, as well as trips for photography.
The new trend is reflecting the need to explore and dig deeper, Zhang Daoshun, founder of online travel agency Ximei Zhilv said to Yicai Global. The share of package tours is declining while that of independent trips is rapidly rising as the demand is diversifying, Zhang added.
Editors: Tang Shihua, Emmi Laine