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China’s tourism enterprises boost training, help each other

(People's Daily Online)    15:02, February 19, 2020

The coronavirus epidemic has made things worse for the Chinese tourism industry, which was already in a slump from the post-Spring Festival off-season, with some small and medium-sized enterprises caught in a capital shortage crisis and finding themselves close to bankruptcy. However, some companies have made the most of the time to strengthen staff training and collaborate with other businesses to make money.

Ctrip offers online training courses for employees. (Photo/People's Daily Online)

"The epidemic will not end just because we worry about it,” said Mr. Jin, a store manager of Ctrip, a business and travel management company, in central China’s Wuhan city, in comments that have been echoed by many tourism professionals.

At present, the direct and indirect employment from tourism in China has reached 79.9 million, and the total number of travel agencies in China has topped 38,000. In anticipation of a business shutdown, many tourism enterprises have focused on improving their professional skills, so as to prepare for the future.

Ctrip has recently announced that it will open nearly 2,000 training courses to its partners and tens of millions of employees across the industry, calling on the travel industry to "have training online and at home, conserve energy and reserve talents".

"Many of the courses are taught by leading experts from the front line of business," according to Xu Zhiyun, dean of Ctrip's college of tourism. The number of active APP users at the online college has increased by 150 percent to nearly 30,000 in just a few days since the course opened on February 5, with an average daily online time of 77 minutes.

Meanwhile, the cooperation between Fresh Hema, a fresh grocery chain store in China, and many catering enterprises has resulted in new jobs for many catering workers.

"What we need most is manpower, so we joined with Xibei and other restaurant enterprises to let idle restaurant staff join our store. We will give them the relevant training and then ask them to do some work sorting goods," Ma Chunmao, a person in charge at Fresh Hema, said.

Over 1,200 people from more than 20 catering enterprises have joined Fresh Hema’s temporary employment team.

The same is true of the travel industry. With hotels closed and the travel agency business shut down, tens of thousands of tourism personnel cannot engage in normal work. A few travel enterprises have also begun to collaborate with Fresh Hema.

Mr. Zhang, a former travel sales consultant on LY.com, a travel booking platform, has switched to selling daily supplies such as face masks and disinfectants.

This is part of his job at a community group buying platform incubated by LY.com. After the outbreak, the company mobilized up to 300 employees to join the project. At the same time, Caissa Tourism, a travel service company, also said that it is actively trying to get into the retail business to become more diversified, and more in line with user needs.

"We spent a whole day training our colleagues, turning salesmen of travel products into salesmen of masks, disinfectants and chemical products, and achieved a sales volume of 10 million yuan on the same day," a person in charge at the company revealed.

Ctrip said its 8,000 branded travel stores have come under pressure during the outbreak. A "care plan" has been launched for stores, including the suspension of management fees for three months, and the deadlines of tasks assigned for each store has been extended by three months to relieve operating pressure.

Faced with the current financial pressure, tourism industry insiders pointed out that mutual assistance and sharing will become the norm in the current tourism industry, and enterprises should stick together in times of difficulty. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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