In 2018, Chinese tourists made 150 million international trips, and four years later, China became the world’s largest outbound travel market. Within China, billions of domestic trips are made each year. But in 2020, those figures will look a lot different.

The coronavirus outbreak began spreading across the country during Chunyun, the Spring Festival rush, when hundreds of millions of people travel home or abroad for family reunions. Recognizing that the peak travel season was the perfect storm for a rapidly spreading infection, the government quickly locked down a number of cities and implemented strict travel restrictions, paralyzing most of the country.

Since then, China’s online travel agency platforms, along with airlines and railways, have scrambled to accommodate millions of ticket and reservation cancellation requests by drastically expanding favorable cancellation policies and offering full refunds to frustrated customers.

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Nicole Jao is a reporter based in Beijing. She’s passionate about emerging trends, news, and stories of human interest within the world of technology. Connect with her on Twitter or via email: nicole.jao.iting@gmail.com. More by Nicole Jao

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com. More by Emma Lee