Homestay industry in Beijing reshuffles amid pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt button on the world, especially the booming tourism industry. In recent years, homestay, a growing business in China, is seeing a reshuffle in the industry.

While many are struggling to recoup their losses or to survive, others are seeing new opportunities.

In Beijing, the coronavirus’ resurgence in June has dented some homestay owners’ chance of survival. Suo Fei, owner of a homestay in downtown Beijing’s courtyard, decided to close down the cozy place she has been running for two years.

Suo Fei is cleaning the yard of the homestay she rented in downtown Beijing. /CMG

Suo Fei is cleaning the yard of the homestay she rented in downtown Beijing. /CMG

Two years ago, she quitted her job and started her business of homestay running with two other friends in Wuhan and Beijing.

“The contract is for eight years. My first investment was about 400,000 yuan (57,178 U.S. dollars), and I invested a total of 600,000 yuan (85,768 U.S. dollars). I didn’t get any income after the outbreak of the epidemic. The lack of funds is really severe, so I can only hope to stop the losses,” Suo said.

While homestay owners in downtown Beijing are forced out of the market due to the high rent and depression caused by the pandemic, those in the suburban areas are seeing some positive signals. 

A homestay in the Huairou District of Beijing. /CMG

A homestay in the Huairou District of Beijing. /CMG

As the situation gets better in Beijing, homestay in the suburb is reopening again, and with a surging reservation.

According to Peng Tao, president of Airbnb China, the tourist platform sees a rapid increase in tour-bookings within a 320-kilometer range from the city. Instead of traveling outside of the capital, most of Beijing residents prefer to spend the weekends in homestays nearby.

Long Fei, an expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the pandemic had forced many people to change their trip plans. Instead of traveling overseas, most people prefer to spend the weekend in suburbs.

“Many people value more of the sanitation and security of the homestays, and meanwhile, the experience and immersive activities the homestay provides may become more attractive for the tourists,” said Dr. Long Fei in the financial strategy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

(Cover image: A homestay in suburban Beijing. /CFP)

Originally Appeared Here