As Asian countries reopen to foreign arrivals, one major tourist market will be missing for the time being: the Chinese. According to a Reuters report, international air traffic in China is currently at just 2% of pre-pandemic levels, as officials continue to push for zero Covid status. The absence of Chinese visitors means an annual spending gap of $255 billion in the global tourist market.
According to the Reuters report, Chinese tourists accounted for 25% – 30% of business in Phuket’s Laguna resorts before the pandemic. Managing Director Ravi Chandran says they are now turning their attention to the European, American and Middle Eastern markets.
“Until today, we haven’t done any significant marketing or promotion in China because we don’t feel anything coming our way.”
Thailand’s tourism industry has been decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with many businesses gone forever and others struggling to get back. In total, Thailand has lost about US$50 billion a year in tourism revenue. While tourism officials hope the number of foreign arrivals will total around 180,000 this year, that’s a long way from the 40 million Thailand welcomed in 2019.
The China News watchers predict that the country will maintain its strict 21-day quarantine for returning residents until at least the second quarter of 2022. When the country reopens, it is expected to be very gradual, and Wolfgang Georg Arlt of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute predicts that the outbound travel market will not be the same.
“The market will have changed, so the Chinese travelling in 2022 will be different from the Chinese travelling in 2019. I think the trends will go away from this shopping and running around.”
Mrs Sienna Parulis-Cook of the travel marketing agency Dragon Tail International agrees, believing that large tour groups are a thing of the past.
“You may have organized trips and stuff, but it would be with a small group of people you know, rather than 50 strangers on a tour bus.”
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