China lifts ban on group travel, boosting tourism, hotel stocks in Asia

Top view of Seoul in the morning of autumn 2016.

Natthapol Bussaï | Instant | Getty Images

China has lifted a ban on group travel to more than 70 destinations, giving a boost to travel and airline stocks in Asia.

China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced Thursday that group travel would resume in dozens of destinations in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Africa and North America.

The top travel destinations in Asia-Pacific are Japan, South Korea and Australia. The United Kingdom, Germany, Finland and Sweden as well as Middle Eastern countries such as Qatar, Oman, Lebanon and Israel were on the list.

South Korean airline and travel stocks saw the strongest reaction, with travel agency, airline and hotel stocks all jumping.

Travel agency Lotte Tour Development saw its shares rise more than 25%, while those of luxury hotel operator Hotel Shilla jumped 17%.

South Korean airlines also posted gains, with Asiana Airlines climbing 7% and Korea Airlines rising 3.1%.

This is despite Typhoon Khanun making landfall in South Korea on Thursday, leading to the cancellation of more than 330 flights and the displacement of 10,000 people to safety, according to Reuters.

It will be the first time in six years that China has allowed group travel to South Korea, after banning such travel in 2017 in response to the deployment of South Korea’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System.

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Japanese tourism stocks also posted gains, with Japanese airlines And All Nippon airlines climbing 1.92% and 1.25% respectively.

Shares of a Japanese travel agency HER rose 3.4%, while its peer Airtrip was up 2.9%.

In Australia, travel stocks were little changed, the national carrier Qantas just slightly above the flat line.

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