Overreliance on Chinese tourism a major concern for Asian destinations
Lack of diversity of visitor source markets compared to non-Asian destinations make Asian markets vulnerable to adverse changes in regional tourism.
MasterCard International’s latest annual Global Destination Cities Index report tracking the world’s most popular tourism destinations has pointed out that while Asian countries attract high volume of international tourists, the lack of diversity of visitor source markets compared to non-Asian destinations make them vulnerable to adverse changes in regional tourism.
The number of Chinese visitors visiting Asia Pacific destinations has more than doubled in five years. Last year, Chinese visitors comprised 13% of total visitor arrivals to the Asia Pacific region and formed the largest group of foreign visitors in the region.
The region’s overreliance on Chinese outbound visitor traffic is in stark contrast to the visitor makeup of other European or Middle Eastern cities. For example Chinese visitors only constituted 0.6% of total visitor arrivals to London in the same period.
Experts say that such a high degree of reliance on Chinese outbound traffic is not healthy and is a cause for concern. The risks involved when any country puts all its eggs in one basket are all too apparent, and there are other problems that come with an influx of Chinese tourists, such as uncivilized tourist behavior that has plagued Thailand’s tourism industry.
But diversifying visitor sources is no easy task as China remains the dominant force in the region, due not only to government policies but also other factors such as China’s enormous population and its proximity to regional destinations.
To many Chinese travelers, neighboring Asian destinations are cheaper and more accessible than destinations in Europe and the Middle East. As well, the culture of an Asian destination is more familiar to the typical Chinese tourists than that of a destination half way around the world.(Translation by David)