International hospitality groups are gradually resuming trade in China as the country has entered a phase of regular epidemic prevention and control.

As of May 8, all of Hilton’s 250 hotels in the Chinese mainland had resumed business, said Qian Jin, area president for Hilton Greater China and Mongolia. He added that there were 150 Hilton hotels temporarily closed to new bookings during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Reopening all our hotels in the Chinese mainland is the first step in a measured global recovery process,” said Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton. “We are confident that there are brighter days ahead.”

Many of Hilton resorts were fully booked during the May Day holiday earlier this month. They also reported an improvement in their daily occupancy rate, Qian told Beijing Business Today newspaper.

More than 98 percent of the 470-plus hotels owned by InterContinental Hotels Group in China have been operating since May 5. This is despite nearly one-third of them being temporarily closed due to the epidemic, said Jolyon Bulley, CEO of IHG Greater China. Other hotels in the pipeline have also resumed construction work, Bulley added.

“China is IHG’s second-largest market and the fastest growing one. We’re confident of the long-term outlook of China’s hospitality industry,” he said. According to Bulley, the development of urbanization, growing disposable income of residents, and the improvement of tourism infrastructure and other factors will promote the continuous growth of China’s hotel market demand.

Catering services offered by hotels, including Hyatt Regency Beijing, Wangjing; Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing; and China World Summit Wing, have also begun to resume, Beijing Business Today reported. Out of health, safety and operation cost concerns, buffet dinner services are suspended, according to the newspaper.

Zhao Huanyan, chief knowledge officer at Huamei Consulting, told the newspaper that on the global hotel industry landscape, China is expected to be among the first rallying markets, because of the country’s effective control of COVID-19.

However, foreign travelers have long been a key targeted client group for most international franchised business hotels in the country. Such operations have been affected by overseas developments of the pandemic, Zhao said. As a result, the entire hospitality industry still has a long way to go before a full recovery so cost control still remains a crucial issue for hoteliers, he added.

Xinhua – China Daily