Taiwan stops new group trips to China; Island nations bank on waves of Chinese visitors | Daily Brief
02/18/2024|4:44:03 PM|ChinaTravelNews

China outbound & inbound tourism spending rebounds on Alipay+ & Alipay Merchant Networks

Data from Ant Group shows a robust rebound of consumer spending during the first back-to-normal Chinese New Year (CNY) travel season after the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in cross-border tourism. Number of transactions made by Alipay users overseas surpassed that of 2019 by 7% while consumer spending recovered to 82% of the 2019 level, or 2.4 times of 2023.

Hainan Airlines is handing out Rokid AR glasses for in-flight entertainment

Hainan Airlines started letting passengers on some routes use Rokid’s augmented reality glasses for free for in-flight entertainment, the tech startup announced. Chinese start-up Rokid claimed it’s the first time AR glasses — which allow computer-generated images to be superimposed on the real world — have been used at scale on flights. Passengers can watch 3D movies, read e-books and play simple games using the glasses, instead of doing so on a built-in monitor.

Australia hopes China to be its top tourism market again, says tourism chief

China is expected to reclaim the top spot in Australia's international tourism industry "in the very near future," chief of the Australian government's tourism promoting agency has said. In 2019, China was already the top market in Australia's international tourism sector, with 1.4 million Chinese tourists visiting Australia each year. The number of Chinese tourists has increased month by month and returned to about 45 percent of pre-pandemic levels in November last year. 

Airbnb: China’s outbound tourism will surpass 2019 levels by the end of 2024

Airbnb’s Chief Business Officer David E. Stephenson mentioned during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call that China’s outbound tourism is growing rapidly in the Asia-Pacific region. He expected that by the end of this year, Chinese outbound tourism (volume) will surpass the level of 2019.

Taiwan stops new group trips to China amid tourism, air route spat

Taiwan's Tourism Administration on Wednesday (Feb 7) told travel agents to stop organizing new group tours to China since Beijing has yet to allow such trips to the island by Chinese tourists and has altered a flight path in the sensitive Taiwan Strait. Post-pandemic, China has largely resumed permission for mainland Chinese travelers to visit a host of popular tourist destinations including Japan, but has yet to add Taiwan back on its approved list amid ongoing tensions between Beijing and Taipei.

Chinese carriers expand Middle East connectivity with Saudi, Iran routes

China Eastern Airlines is set to become the first Chinese carrier to launch regular scheduled service to Saudi Arabia as diplomatic and economic ties between the two nations continue to strengthen. The SkyTeam alliance member—alongside Chinese counterparts Air China, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines—has previously offered nonstop flights to points in the Middle East country. However, these have been limited-time services specifically designed to accommodate religious traffic during the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Island nations bank on waves of Chinese visitors

Island nations in the Asia-Pacific are banking on tourists from China to revive their travel industries and spur post-pandemic growth, experts said. Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Fiji and some Pacific Island nations with either new or long-existing favorable visa policies for Chinese citizens, are hoping to cash in on the big-spending tourists. Puvaneswaran Kunasekaran, a senior lecturer in social and development at the Universiti Putra Malaysia, said visa-free access makes a destination "more accessible and appealing" to Chinese tourists who are known for their high spending.

Macao's tourism figures hit record high during Chinese New Year

While multi-faceted "Happy Chinese New Year" activities took place, Macao's tourism industry was off to a good start during the Chinese New Year. According to Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) statistics, visitor arrivals to the city on Monday exceeded 210,000, surpassing the single-day arrival record since 2023 and being the second-highest record since the single-day statistics became available. The data also showed that the city's daily average arrivals reached 167,000 during Feb. 10-12, seeing a significant increase of 226 percent compared to the Chinese New Year holiday in 2023.