Drop in Chinese visitors to Philippines expected after Hague ruling
Safety concerns and nationalist sentiment following the Hague's ruling are main factors for projected declining Chinese visits to the Philippines.
The Hague tribunal's award against China in the South China Sea case on Tuesday will likely reduce the number of Chinese visitors to the Philippines, but will not have an impact on tourism in Southeast Asia, experts said Wednesday.
Chinese tourists cited safety concerns and nationalist sentiment following the Hague's ruling as main factors for their decision not to visit the Philippines, which, experts said, is a sign of declining demand for bookings to the Southeast Asian country.
That could add to the declining popularity of the Philippines among Chinese tourists in recent years, due to the tense relationship between China and the Philippines caused by the South China Sea disputes.
The number of Chinese visitors to the Philippines stood under 300,000 in the first half of the year, including those going to the country for business and visits to relatives.
China is the Philippines' third largest visitor source, with an annual growth rate of 8 percent.
Room for growth
While less Chinese tourists might visit the Philippines, other countries in Southeast Asia are likely to see more, because of their advanced development, geographical proximity and favorable visa policies.
Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are the major tourism markets in Southeast Asia.
More than 10 million Chinese tourists flooded Southeast Asian countries in 2015, with Thailand attracting about 8 million Chinese, according to experts.
In an effort to attract more Chinese visitors, Indonesia included China in its visa-free list in June 2015 and Malaysia offered visa-free entry and issued e-visas for Chinese visitors in March this year.
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