Delta variant outbreak pummels hotels, online home-renting business

As the latest Delta variant outbreak in China continue to trip up tourism during the summer travel peak season, the hospitality industry such as hotels and online home-renting business are bearing the brunt of the variant’s hit.

There were 1.3 times more refund inquiries for hotel bookings as of July 31, according to data released by Trip.com.

“There were some refund inquiries for our apartments coming in after the middle of July,” an Airbnb rental host based in Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality surnamed Huang who manages 32 apartments, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Huang added that all orders for August were canceled after July 25 after the latest Delta variant flare-up in China, and there are no bookings for listed apartments this month.

The current wave of outbreak has hit peak tourism season, said Huang. The hospitality industry including the hotel sector and online home-renting business were pummeled by the new variant.

In 2020, a total of 364,000 homes were newly registered for online renting, dropping 17.41 percent from the previous year, Chinese finance media Yicai reported on Monday, citing data from market information online platform Qichacha.

The number of high-end hotels in China including four-star and five-star hotels was 3,219 in 2020, down 1.41 percent from 2019 with some high-end hotels being shut down due to the pandemic, according to a report realized by research agency Forward – the Economist.

The operating income of high-end hotels reported to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism reached 92.81 billion yuan ($14.36 billion) last year, dropping 37.2 percent from 2019.