Southeast Asia’s tourism industry can hope to get a boost from China’s newly opened borders, according to Reuters. In contrast to other countries around the world that have varying Covid-19 travel requirements for Chinese arrivals, test-free Southeast Asian destinations offer a less stressful alternative.
China, the world’s second largest economy with a population of 1.45 billion, lifted its travel ban on Sunday, January 8. Australia, the UK, Europe, India, Japan and the US are among the lists of countries requiring negative Covid tests for incoming Chinese travelers. We implement preventive measures in the form of diagnostic testing of wastewater.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was struggling to downplay wastewater inspections as the Malaysian Tour and Travel Agents Association put on a roadshow to “draw visitors” in Chinese cities. “We are not taking a discriminatory stance against any country,” he said. He will be keenly aware that the rest of his region, from Singapore and Indonesia to Cambodia, is taking an even more relaxed approach.
Singapore defends lack of Covid restrictions on Chinese arrivals, Singapore cites its own high levels of immunity and vaccinations, Bali’s plan to provide booster vaccinations to workers, and China’s Friendly Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has gone so far as to denounce concerned countries of horrific anti-Covid ‘propaganda’.
But for Cambodia, it is an invitation to the Chinese. Chinese tourists please come to Cambodia.
Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia
Even before the inspection requirements were made public, Chinese tourists appeared to prefer Southeast Asian destinations. Ranked top post-corona travel destinations.
The region, which has historically benefited from large numbers of tourists from China for its idyllic beaches, luxurious shopping and gambling venues, will be happy to see their resurgence. 255 million people spent $254.6 billion abroad in 2019, which is almost equal to Vietnam’s GDP. The impact on Southeast Asia is told in numbers. Vietnam welcomed her six million, one-third of annual visitors. Twenty percent of her international arrivals in Singapore are from China, spending more than $900 million.
Citi analysis shows significant growth is expected in the second quarter of 2023, with Thailand and Malaysia expecting Chinese tourists to arrive in roughly half the numbers they were before the pandemic.