BEIJING – Hotel bookings in China have surpassed pre-pandemic levels since the end of June, booking site Trip.com said Thursday.
Trip.com shares briefly fell more than 7% in Hong Kong trading on Thursday, before recovering slightly to close 4.5% lower. New York-listed stocks fell 8.5% overnight, but rose 2.5% on extended trading.
“Overall, our hotel booking in China on our platform has bounced back quickly and [have] it has surpassed pre-Covid levels since the end of June, ”Trip.com chief financial officer Cindy Xiaofan Wang said during an earnings call Thursday morning.
“Total domestic hotel bookings were around 20% higher than the 2019 level in July and we continued to grow from the 2019 level in August and have achieved hyper growth compared to 2021,” he said.
That growth came despite continuing sporadic blockades and travel restrictions across China to control Covid outbreaks. Tens of thousands of tourists were stranded in the tourist area of Hainan province in August due to Covid control measures that canceled transportation off the island.
Staycations drove much of the rise in summer travel.
Trip.com said hotel bookings in the same city rose 30 percent from 2019 levels in the last quarter.
However, Wang said the number of domestic air passengers “has dropped from 70% to 80% from the 2019 level in recent weeks.”
Trip.com reported second-quarter revenue of 4.01 billion yuan ($ 572.9 million), exceeding expectations of 3.58 billion yuan, according to FactSet. Revenues from accommodation bookings and transportation tickets both beat FactSet estimates.
However, overall revenue in the second quarter was down 32% from the same period a year ago and 2% from the previous quarter. The company said the decline was “mainly due to ongoing disruptions resulting from the resurgence of Covid-19 in China.”
Boom in international business
For the China-based company, its international offerings proved to be a positive point.
“Trip.com’s growth was mainly driven by the strong recovery in international flights and we are happy to see that momentum continued in the third quarter,” said Wang, noting that those airline ticket bookings in July were close to 90%. of the levels of 2019.
In the second quarter, hotel bookings in the same country outside of China quadrupled from 2019 levels, he said.
By region, European and American market revenues have already surpassed 2019 levels, Wang said.
Much of the world has loosened many restrictions on Covid travel, while China has maintained a strict policy, so-called zero-Covid dynamic.