World welcomes China's resumption of outbound tourism

(Chinadaily.com.cn) 13:53, January 10, 2023

Chinese passengers arrive at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan, Thailand, Jan 9, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

China has resumed outbound tourism after downgrading COVID-19 management measures from Class A to B starting on Sunday. The global tourism market has responded warmly to this change and actively welcomed Chinese tourists.

According to Ctrip data, as of Jan 5, overseas travel orders for the seven days during Spring Festival had surged by 540 percent and the average order cost had increased by 32 percent over the same period last year. It is expected that overseas tourist destinations will welcome a large number of Chinese tourists during the holiday.

Industry experts predict China's move will boost the development of global tourism and stimulate economic recovery, as well as promote people-to-people exchanges.

Brighter prospects for tourism

According to United Nations World Tourism Organization, China was one of the world's major outbound tourism contributors before the outbreak of the pandemic. The optimized COVID-19 policy will have a positive impact on the development of tourism in China as well as the world.

Steve Saxon, who leads McKinsey's Travel, Logistics &Infrastructure Practice in China, said China averaged about 12 million outbound air passengers per month in 2019, and predicts that figure will recover to about 6 million per month by the summer.

Tourists visit the Angkor Wat in the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap province, Cambodia on Dec 17, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said that China's upcoming reopening of its borders will revitalize the kingdom's economy and tourism.

"When China reopens its borders, flights will increase many times, so we hope to welcome about 2 million Chinese tourists again (in 2023)," Hun Sen said.

He added that the Southeast Asian nation is very pleased to welcome the return of Chinese tourists, saying that their presence is vital to the country's tourism and economic growth.

Saudi Arabia's Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said that he hopes more Chinese tourists would visit and learn about Saudi heritage, culture, and people.

A boy rides a camel at the place of Elephant Rock in Alula, Saudi Arabia, Nov 5, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

"China is one of Saudi Arabia's main trade partners, and we have been enjoying Chinese culture and heritage for many years, especially the delicious food that can be found everywhere in Saudi Arabia. Now, we want the Chinese to come," the minister said.

Shop owners in Khan el-Khalili, one of the most famed tourist bazaars in the Egyptian capital Cairo, are expecting the return of Chinese tourists after China opened up its borders beginning Sunday.

"Before the spread of COVID-19, the business was good as large numbers of tourists, especially Chinese, flocked here," said Amr Dahi, who sells precious stones and copper artifacts in the centuries-old market.

Mohammed Saleh, owner of a traditional Egyptian restaurant in Khan el-Khalili, said Chinese people are very friendly.

Tourists ride camels in front of the Great Pyramids plateau in Giza, Egypt, Dec 22, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

"We are so happy to hear the good news," said Amir Ben Aribia, general manager of the Tunisian travel company Tunisia Blue Sky.

With Chinese tourists accounting for 90 percent of the company's business before the pandemic outbreak, Ben Aribia has been closely following the adjustment of China's COVID-related policies.

The orderly resumption of outbound travel for Chinese tourists will be "a major boon to New Zealand's tourism industry," said Lisa Li, managing director of New Zealand's largest travel agency.

About 1,000 Chinese tourists arrived in New Zealand in the week early last month, a significant increase from three months earlier, according to the country's statistics agency Stats NZ.

People sit outside a restaurant in the Medina of Tunis, Tunisia, May 27, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said about 150,000 Chinese tourists were expected to visit New Zealand in 2023. "Our regions have already seen a boost in tourism spending and this looks set to continue in the summer months."

Welcoming Chinese tourists

Thailand on Monday welcomed the arrival of thousands of Chinese tourists in its capital of Bangkok, the first group following China's optimization of COVID-19 strategy which took effect on Jan 8.

At the Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and other senior officials welcomed 269 tourists from the Chinese city of Xiamen, who were greeted with flowers and gift bags.

Thailand tourism sector has recently estimated that about 300,000 Chinese tourists will come to Thailand in the first quarter of this year.

People pose for pictures in celebration of the New Year at the foot of Skytower in Auckland, New Zealand on Jan 1, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

Etihad Airways is set to strengthen air connectivity between the UAE and China. "Etihad Airways is delighted to add a second weekly passenger service to Shanghai following the further relaxation of COVID-related travel measures," said Martin Drew, senior vice-president of Global Sales &Cargo at Etihad Aviation Group.

Combined with a weekly service to Beijing and a twice-weekly service to Guangzhou, this will provide travelers with five weekly nonstop flights between Abu Dhabi and China.

Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association Vu The Binh said the first thing the tourism sector should do is to take immediate measures to improve the quality of services to attract Chinese tourists.

President of the Vietnam Travel Association's Union Cao Tri Dung said it is important to resume the regular flight and charter flight networks, and strengthen the promotion of destinations in localities that have direct flights from China or are close to China in proximity.

Vietnamese airlines are permitted to resume regular flights to China like in the pre-COVID-19 period.

Chinese passengers are welcomed by Thai officials at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan, Thailand, Jan 9, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Pakistan is not just looking at inviting Chinese tourists to Pakistan, but also looking at sending Pakistani tourists to China, said Aftab ur-Rehman Rana, the managing director of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation. The decision to hold the Pakistan-China Year of Tourism Exchanges in 2023 will greatly help improve people-to-people contacts and especially promote tourism cooperation, he added.

"For Pakistan, the opening of Chinese tourism is a very positive sign," Rana said, adding that Pakistan has made a lot of preparation to welcome Chinese tourists.

The government has been working on improving the availability of information on both sides as well as producing new literature on major tourist destinations in the Chinese language, so that the Chinese tourists know well about Pakistan, he said.

Rosemary Anderson, the national chair of hospitality industry body, Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa, said there are ways in which SA can make itself a more attractive destination for Chinese tourists such as offering payment platforms, like WeChat Pay and Alipay, being aware of when Chinese holidays take place, learning key phrases in Mandarin, and training tourist guides to speak Mandarin.

(Web editor: Cai Hairuo, Liang Jun)


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