Beijing, Aug 12 : Even as the Chinese are keeping themselves to home watching the Olympics' live telecast, the outbound tourism has been affected up to 30 percent, say the officials of the Outbound Department of the China International.uly, August are generally the peak months for outbound travel in China.
Lin Kang, deputy general manager of the outbound department of the China International Travel Service (CITS), said: "The outbound sector saw a slight increase in July, but in August it is down by 20-30 percent on last year. The main reason is Olympic fever, which has gripped China this summer."
"Many customers cancelled their plans to travel abroad in favor of working as volunteers or simply staying home to watch the Games," the China Daily quoted Lin as saying.
Several small-scale travel agencies could organise just two or three overseas travel groups this month, reported the Shanghai-based National Business Daily.
But, insiders say that there are other reasons, such as a reduced number of tickets, fewer business travellers and the depressed stock market. Zhang Qingzhu from CCT International Travel Service Limited said that airlines had reserved some seats on international flights for Olympic officials and athletes, which has cut the number on the market.
Furthermore, workers and officials at large State-owned companies and government departments - major con-sumers of incentive tours and business trips - have been ordered to "stay put" during the Games to ensure the city runs smoothly, Chen Xiaobing, general manager of Beijing Caissa International Travel Service Co Ltd, said.
Olympic fever has also hit business travel into and out of Beijing, leading to price cuts on many domestic flights. "The day of the opening ceremony was the watershed for price plunges this month," Zhang Wei, an air ticket manager from online travel firm Ctrip.com, said.
Meanwhile, good news for customers is that as ticket pries have fallen, tour firms have also cut the cost of their packages.
Zhang Lingjie, deputy manager of the domestic depart-ment of CITS, said the prices of almost all domestic tours - even to popular places like Yunnan and Hainan - have been cut. "Last year, a four-day tour with return flights to Lijiang sold for about 685 dollars. This year, the same tour is available for just 345 dollars," he said.