cautious of travel rebound even after China eases Covid rules

Beijing Temple of Heaven. Pxhere

Although China has recently relaxation of Covid measures is widely seen as a step forward for travel, remains cautious in the very short term as winter is generally a low season for business and leisure travel.

“It could also take a while for people to get through the first wave of infections before travel demand can fully unleash and rebound,” said Xiaofan Wang, chief financial officer and executive vice president of the Chinese giant. online travel, while anticipating a nice rebound in growth in the domestic travel segment next year.

Following the change in travel policies announced by China in November, the search volume for inbound and outbound travel on, however, skyrocketed in the following days.

“As soon as the government announces some policy easing, our site sees an increase in domestic and international travel search,” said Jane Sun, CEO and director of during an earnings call this week. .

The announcement also drove cross-border air ticket bookings in mainland China to their highest level since 2020, with inbound and outbound flight bookings recovering around 20% from pre-Covid levels, Sun said.

At a time when layoffs at tech companies made headlines, Sun said they don’t expect to reduce the number of people at at any time.

“Going forward, we expect our total staff numbers to generally remain stable, particularly for China’s domestic business, while cost per head may change depending on business performance.”

Mainly due to the strong recovery in the Chinese domestic market, the company delivered strong third-quarter results with total net revenue of $969 million, representing a 29% year-on-year increase. other, with a quarter-on-quarter increase of 72%. .

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the third quarter was $198 million, representing a 164% increase over the same period in 2021 and a 300% increase over the prior quarter.

In terms of operating margins, Sun said it has a very good business model and when business returns to normal, expects reasonable and healthy operating margins.

“We delivered strong third quarter results despite market volatility in the second half of this quarter. Our domestic hotel bookings have seen positive growth over the past year and are almost completely back to pre-pandemic levels,” Sun said. also noted that despite some headwinds in the macro environment, the company hasn’t seen much of an impact on its platform overseas, both in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and ‘in the USA.

Sun said this could likely be because the company is still in the early stages of its overseas market development and the comparable base is very small.

As the Asia-Pacific region has just started to reopen, Sun said they have a very good opportunity to catch up with the recovery in pent-up demand in this region.’s chief operating officer, Lou Schubert, was a guest speaker at the Skift Global Forum East in Dubai which ended on Thursday.

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