Chinese Tourists Are Swarming Southeast Asia as International Travel Rebounds

Chinese Tourists Are Swarming Southeast Asia as International Travel Rebounds
Chinese tourist ASEAN | Image by πŸŒΈβ™‘πŸ’™β™‘πŸŒΈ Julita πŸŒΈβ™‘πŸ’™β™‘πŸŒΈ from Pixabay

Over the recent Chinese New Year holiday, popular destinations like Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia saw a surge in visitors and spending, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

The relaxation of visa requirements for Chinese travelers to Southeast Asian countries has fueled this increase, marking a strong resurgence in travel following Beijing's easing of strict COVID-19 measures in early 2023. This uptick is a boon for economies reliant on Chinese tourism, although the recovery of international travel faces challenges amid China's sluggish economy and volatile financial markets.

Despite economic uncertainties, analysts believe that Chinese consumers remain eager to spend on travel experiences. Bookings to key destinations such as Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia increased by over 30% compared to 2019, according to Additionally, visitor numbers to Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, and South Korea from China also saw a notable rise.

The recent eight-day Chinese New Year break in 2024, one day longer than in 2019, further contributed to the surge. Visa waivers have notably boosted hotel bookings, with Bangkok seeing a threefold increase and Singapore witnessing a ninefold jump during the holiday period.

Mobile payment platform Alipay reported a 7.5% increase in spending across Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia compared to 2019, nearly seven times more than last year. However, overall consumer spending remains below pre-pandemic levels, standing at 82%.

Chinese travelers have also shown interest in new destinations, with the Middle East experiencing a surge in visitors. Saudi Arabia saw a more than ninefold increase compared to 2019, while bookings to the UAE rose by 60%.

Macao, known for its casinos, attracted over a million Chinese tourists during the holiday, with hotel occupancy rates hitting 95%. This spike in tourism is expected to benefit major casino operators like Sands China and Wynn Macao, with daily gross gaming revenues projected to exceed US$124 million.

In Hong Kong, over 1.2 million Chinese tourists visited during Chinese New Year, boosting hotel occupancy rates to 90%. Similarly, Japan experienced increased duty-free sales, partly due to the holiday influx.

Chinese tourists are showing a preference for experience-based travel, evident in higher spending on food, beverages, and scenic experiences abroad. Overseas car rentals and scenic tickets have seen significant increases compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Akhyari Hananto

I began my career in the banking industry in 1997, and stayed approx 6 years in it. This industry boost his knowledge about the economic condition in Indonesia, both macro and micro, and how to More understand it. My banking career continued in Yogyakarta when I joined in a program funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB),as the coordinator for a program aimed to help improve the quality of learning and teaching process in private universities in Yogyakarta. When the earthquake stroke Yogyakarta, I chose to join an international NGO working in the area of ?disaster response and management, which allows me to help rebuild the city, as well as other disaster-stricken area in Indonesia. I went on to become the coordinator for emergency response in the Asia Pacific region. Then I was assigned for 1 year in Cambodia, as a country coordinator mostly to deliver developmental programs (water and sanitation, education, livelihood). In 2009, he continued his career as a protocol and HR officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya, and two years later I joined the Political and Economic Section until now, where i have to deal with extensive range of people and government officials, as well as private and government institution troughout eastern Indonesia. I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief in Good News From Indonesia (GNFI), a growing and influential social media movement, and was selected as one of The Most Influential Netizen 2011 by The Marketeers magazine. I also wrote a book on "Fundamentals of Disaster Management in 2007"?, "Good News From Indonesia : Beragam Prestasi Anak Bangsa di dunia"? which was luanched in August 2013, and "Indonesia Bersyukur"? which is launched in Sept 2013. In 2014, 3 books were released in which i was one of the writer; "Indonesia Pelangi Dunia"?, "Indonesia The Untold Stories"? and "Growing! Meretas Jalan Kejayaan" I give lectures to students in lectures nationwide, sharing on full range of issues, from economy, to diplomacy Less
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