The dragon awakens

South East Asian countries are learning that travel demand from China post-pandemic may shape up differently than before

Oct 18, 2023

South East Asian destinations compete vigorously to attract Chinese tourists; Thailand welcomed 11 million Chinese visitors in 2019, and Malaysia 3.1 million. The bigger picture is more complex, transcending visitor numbers and expenditure. Trade and investment ties, strategic politics, diplomacy and tourism are intertwined in complex bilateral relationships.

Key takeaways

  • Tourism boards willing Chinese tourists to boost their economies face a new competitor: China. The Golden Week generated 826 million domestic travel trips;
  • During the Covid era, Chinese cities, tourism destinations, airlines, hotels, OTAs and car rental firms used Chinese social media apps to great effect to meet the changing travel preferences of consumers;
  • With attentions turning to 2024, the biggest learning for regional destinations in 2023 has been managing expectations, as the “big unknown factor” remains uppermost in the minds of governments, tourism boards and the travel industry.

Get the full story at the Asia Media Centre

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