China domestic searches for hotels surge after easing restrictions - KAYAK

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Beijing
People wearing protective face masks carry their luggage at Capital Airport, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Beijing, China, November 5, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Dec 12 (Reuters) - Travel website KAYAK, owned by Booking Holdings Inc (BKNG.O), said domestic searches for hotels within China surged last week, after the country loosened its COVID-19-related restrictions.

KAYAK on Friday said searches for hotels jumped more than 100% over the past two days compared to last year and over 50% compared to 2019, in a market where travel companies have struggled with Beijing's zero-COVID policy.

"I anticipate the world's second biggest travel market will fully reopen soon after almost three years," said KAYAK Chief Executive Steve Hafner in a statement.

The world's second-largest economy has announced sweeping changes to its resolute anti-COVID regime since the pandemic began three years ago, loosening rules over the last few days that had helped curbed the spread of the virus.

Searches on other travel platforms such as also surged last week as the public cheered China's easing travel curbs.

Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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