Asia tourist hubs ready for China influx

Asia tourist hubs ready for China influx
Asia tourist hubs ready for China influx

Nearly 9.6 million Chinese visited Japan in 2019, the biggest group of foreign tourists by far and a massive leap from the 450,000 who came in 2003.

Travellers arriving back in China will no longer need to be quarantined, removing one of the main barriers to travel for the country's population.

The move, announced in late December, sparked a frenzy of trip planning, with searches spiking for Macau, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and South Korea.

Chinese tourists also made up about a third of all pre-pandemic foreign visitors to South Korea and were among the top three groups visiting Thailand and Indonesia.

China's sudden lifting of pandemic restrictions has led to a massive wave of infections, but Beijing's refusal to share information means the scale of the surge is unclear.

It has been enough to spook governments around the world, with some countries even banning arrivals from China.

Japan has announced similar rules for China, although Hong Kong and Macau travellers are exempt.

While Beijing has loosened many of its Covid restrictions, overseas travel by tour groups remains banned.

And there is little sign that the availability of flights will quickly catch up to renewed demand.

As a result, travel destinations throughout Asia are expecting any rebound in Chinese tourists to be slow.