Home » During the Spring Festival, the number of orders to travel to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand increased significantly, and Chinese tourists “returned” to Southeast Asia’s tourism boom – China News Service

During the Spring Festival, the number of orders to travel to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand increased significantly, and Chinese tourists “returned” to Southeast Asia’s tourism boom – China News Service

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Chinese Tourists Flock to Southeast Asia during Spring Festival, Sparking Tourism Boom

As the Spring Festival came to a close, the tourism industry in Southeast Asia saw a significant uptick in Chinese tourists visiting popular destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. According to Xinhua News Agency, the number of orders from Chinese tourists to these countries during the Spring Festival in 2024 marked a substantial increase compared to the same period the previous year.

One factor contributing to the surge in tourism is the mutual visa exemption facilitation policy implemented by several Southeast Asian countries. For instance, Malaysia’s visa-free entry policy for Chinese citizens will be in effect for 30 days beginning December 1, 2023. Similarly, an agreement between China and Thailand on mutual visa exemption for ordinary passport holders was signed on January 28, taking effect on March 1. Additionally, an agreement between China and Singapore on mutual visa exemption for ordinary passport holders officially took effect on February 9.

The increase in Chinese tourists to Southeast Asia is reflected in the surge in bookings from travel agencies. In fact, Alipay outbound travel data shows that Chinese tourists’ spending in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand during the Spring Festival holiday increased nearly six times compared to 2023. Notably, Thailand experienced the largest increase in consumption by Chinese tourists, while Malaysia reported a significant increase in Chinese tourists choosing the country as their travel destination.

Tourism officials from countries such as Malaysia and Thailand have also acknowledged the remarkable recovery in tourism, crediting the influx of Chinese tourists for boosting their respective tourism industry. In Malaysia, the occupancy rate of some hotels has exceeded 90%, while Thailand has seen over 4 million tourists arriving in the first two months of the year, with more than 730,000 being Chinese tourists.

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This uptick in Chinese tourists has spurred other Southeast Asian nations to implement similar measures to attract more visitors from China. For example, Indonesia is considering implementing a visa-free entry policy for Chinese citizens, while the Tourism Authority of Thailand is pursuing a “tourist attraction operation,” including expanding new routes between China and Thailand and coordinating the travel experiences of Chinese internet celebrities.

In anticipation of more Chinese tourists, airlines are also planning to add new routes or increase flights between China and Southeast Asian countries. For instance, Vietnam Airlines and Thai Airways are both expanding their services to accommodate the growing number of Chinese tourists. Moreover, efforts are being made to accommodate Chinese tourists at airports and tourist attractions, such as adding Chinese signs and partnering with Chinese mobile payment services like WeChat and Alipay.

The surge in Chinese tourists to Southeast Asia bodes well for the recovery of the region’s tourism industry and aligns with the projections of the World Tourism Organization’s “World Tourism Barometer,” which anticipates a return to pre-pandemic levels of international tourism in 2024. With visa facilitation and increased air transport capacity, China’s outbound and inbound tourism markets are expected to experience rapid development in the coming year. As Chinese tourists continue to choose Southeast Asia as a favored travel destination, the region’s tourism industry is poised for a promising year ahead.

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