SEA tourism hard hit as Chinese tourists go elsewhere
SEA destinations, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore will continue to face a slow down in Chinese arrivals after enjoying continuous growth in Chinese visitors number in the past few years.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting South East Asia has dropped in fall, Forbes reports in the November edition.
Official statistics from various SEA destinations reveal that Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore will continue to face a slow down in Chinese arrivals after enjoying continuous growth in Chinese visitors number in the past few years. After rising 93% in the first three quarters of 2013 the number of Chinese visitors to Thailand dropped 19% in the same period last year of 2014, a decrease of 700,000 visitors. The decline in arrivals from China began when civil unrest erupted in the country in May 2014, and hit the lowest point when martial law was declared. Total arrivals to Thailand in Q1-Q3 2014 decreased by two million, a third of the decrease were attributed to a drop of arrivals from China.
Malaysia also suffered a 27% decrease in the number of Chinese tourists in the first half of 2014. Vietnam also saw Chinese visitors’ numbers fall by 24% to 410,000 in the same period, after enjoying a 72% increase in Chinese visitors in the first three quarters of 2013.
Arrivals from China to Singapore also fell 29% by August this year, even though there were no adverse factors such as civil unrest, political instability, or missing planes to pin down for the shortfall. This highlights the fact that Singapore as a major gateway of Southeast Asia is easily impacted by its neighbor’s tourism downturn.
The decrease in arrivals to Southeast Asia countered the general trend of China’s outbound tourism, which is still enjoying strong growth of 17%-18%. Other Asia Pacific destinations such as Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Australia all reported visitor arrival growth from China. Japan has made an especially remarkable recovery, rebounding from last year’s crisis to receive 1.8 million Chinese visitors in the first three quarters of this year, up from 1 million in the same period last year.
Long-haul destinations such as the US, Canada, Germany and Switzerland also reported growth in Chinese visitors’ numbers, in line with China’s outbound travel growth trend.
As the 2011-2013 heyday of South East Asia enjoying rapid growth in arrivals from China is apparently over, Southeast Asian destinations now face the challenge of diversifying and personalizing their tourism sectors to overcome their tarnished image and win back the Chinese visitors whose needs are increasingly sophisticated.(Translation by David)