Asian tourism will do very well without us

But, while the pandemic may have reduced the possibilities of indulging in the passion for discovery, the desire to pack your bags is far from over. On the contrary. And, it is in this niche that domestic travel can play a major role.

A recent study of the Asian Development Bank has also revealed that for about half of Asian economies, domestic tourism has the potential to fill the void left by the shortage of international travelers.

Example: The Philippines received around 7 million international tourists in 2018, while 8 million Filipinos traveled abroad. If all outgoing tourists stayed in the Philippines, the country would have a surplus demand of 1 million!

However, the mobilization of national tourists is far from simple. Many governments have restricted domestic travel to contain the spread of COVID-19 within the country. Such local lockdowns or restrictions on domestic travel severely limit the choices of travelers. Moreover, the confidence of travelers is undermined by the constant fear of being infected.

In China, on the other hand, domestic tourism recovered rapidly. During the national holiday week in October (see article: archives deciphering “Chinese domestic tourism during Golden week”), the number of domestic visits reached 80% of last year’s total. Hubei province has been particularly successful in attracting domestic tourists.

But, it must be said that the travel and tourism companies encouraged by the government have offered huge discounts to stimulate demand and revitalize the sector.

According to a survey carried out in October by McKinsey & Co, Chinese travelers are in any case more and more numerous to prepare for the idea of ​​traveling abroad.

Almost a third of those polled say they are ready to cross borders for their next vacation. Opening borders to Chinese tourists would therefore prove to be a major economic stimulus for many Asian countries. Especially in Cambodia where one in three visitors before the pandemic was Chinese. As in Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam.

Better, there as elsewhere, spending by Chinese tourists was spectacular.

On average, in 2018, they spent around $ 2,500 overseas per person, significantly more than Japanese or Korean tourists. And that shouldn’t change.

Janelle B. Smith

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