China’s bustling tourist industry has become one of the biggest economic victims of the new coronavirus outbreak, suffering billions of dollars in losses from canceled trips as people stay home to avoid the contagion.
The huge blow is likely to result in a major overhaul of the crowded sector, with weaker travel agents and independent hotel operators the most vulnerable, analysts and observers said. The impact is being amplified because the crisis came during the Lunar New Year holiday, which is one of China’s biggest travel periods each year as millions of people take to the road to return home and go on vacations.
“The broader tourism sector is extremely vulnerable to risk, with closures, refunds and revenue falling to zero when this kind of disaster occurs,” said industry analyst Liu Zhaohui.
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