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

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Top view of Seoul in the morning in autumn 2016.

Natthapol Bussai | Moment | Getty Images

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

China’s culture and tourism ministry said Thursday that group tours will resume to over dozens of locations in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Africa and North America.

Top travel destinations in Asia-Pacific included Japan, South Korea and Australia. The United Kingdom, Germany, Finland and Sweden as well as Middle East nations like Qatar, Oman, Lebanon and Israel were on the list.

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

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

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

South Korea's airlines and tourism plays surge on reports China will allow group tours

That’s despite the fact that Typhoon Khanun made landfall in South Korea on Thursday, resulting in more than 330 flights being cancelled and 10,000 people being moved to safety, according to Reuters.

It will be the first time in six years that China is allowing group tours to South Korea, having banned such tours in 2017 in response to the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea.

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Japan tourism stocks also saw gains, with Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways climbing 1.92% and 1.25% respectively.

Shares of Japanese travel agency H.I.S rose 3.4%, while its counterpart Airtrip was 2.9% up.

In Australia, travel stocks were little changed, with national carrier Qantas just marginally above the flatline.

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