SPOTLIGHT: Asia’s travel industry gears up for Chinese tourists, hopes for recovery | Reuters

BANGKOK/SINGAPORE/SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asia’s tourism industry is bracing for an influx of Chinese tourists after China rolled back its “zero corona” policy to contain the novel coronavirus. While there are some concerns in Japan about the spread of the virus, there is no doubt that there is a strong sense of waiting for “business opportunities” to make a comeback.

The Asian country’s tourism industry is preparing for the arrival of a large number of tourists from China, which changed its “zero corona” policy to completely contain the new coronavirus. Images courtesy of Beijing Airport. Photo taken in November 2020 (2022 REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Since January 8, 2018, China will cancel the mandatory quarantine of overseas inbound personnel. Chinese tourists no longer need to be quarantined when they return to China, and the number of overseas travel bookings has increased rapidly.

Before the pandemic, Chinese outbound tourists lost $255 billion a year globally, but the pandemic has reduced that to almost nothing. Thailand, Japan and other Asian tourism industries that rely on “Chinese money” have keenly felt the gap.

Even today, international passenger flights to and from China are only 8% of what they were before the pandemic, according to flight tracking data. However, airlines are considering increasing capacity as restrictions on the number of flights are being eased under infection control measures.

“There is no doubt that mainland Chinese tourists will be the catalyst for Thailand’s tourism recovery,” said Bill Burnett, managing director of hotel consultancy C9 Hotelworks. “It’s not a question of if it will happen, but how much and how quickly it will happen.” The problem”

Malaysia Airlines and Vietnamese low-cost carrier VietJet Air said they hope to return to pre-coronavirus levels by next June. Chinese airlines are also likely to ramp up flights significantly from late March, when summer flights begin, Morningstar analyst Cheng Wen wrote in a note to clients.


Shares in luxury brand makers have soared this week on hopes China’s wealthy will go on another “buying spree” overseas. Chinese buyers account for 21 percent of the global luxury brand market, worth an estimated 350 billion euros (about 49 trillion yen).

The Lunar New Year holiday is the peak time for travel demand in China, and the travel industry around the world is stepping up efforts to welcome the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on January 21 next year.

Luxury hotel Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa in Singapore will launch a hot pot buffet and a special package for couples to attract Chinese tourists. The hotel is envisioning a craze for so-called “revenge tours.”

In Japan, Hato Bus will start a trial Chinese-language tour from January next year, which was suspended due to the epidemic, with the goal of fully resuming in the spring. the spokesman said.

However, Japan has been vigilant against the rapid spread of the new coronavirus in China. Starting from the 30th of this month, people entering from China are required to be tested upon arrival. Those who test positive will be required to be quarantined on the 7th. The U.S. also plans to require negative certificates from people entering from China, and India, Italy and Taiwan have also announced plans to require testing.

In this regard, Australia, Germany, Thailand and other countries stated that they will not impose special restrictions on people entering from China for the time being. France posted a message on Weibo, a microblogging site, emphasizing its “sincere” welcome to Chinese friends.

Some Australians say it may be a mistake to expect large numbers of Chinese tourists to return home for Lunar New Year. Melbourne travel agency executive James Shen said fares were soaring, adding: “Flights will still be low. Probably this month,” warning against expectations.

(Reporters Chayut Setboonsarng, Xinghui Kok, Stella Qiu)

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