Tourism body: China tourists prefer Southeast Asian cities

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KUALA LUMPUR: Chinese tourists are flocking to Southeast Asian cities, attracted by the cultural familiarity of leisure and dining options which helps boost the tourism industry, according to World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF).

Its executive deputy secretary-general Li Baochun said according to studies, Southeast Asian cities like Bangkok, Hanoi, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bali and Manila were among the 10 most popular destinations among Chinese tourists.

“Chinese tourists travel all over the world in massive numbers, especially during public holidays such as Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year and national day.

“In 2016, more than 30 million trips were made between China and Southeast Asian countries, as well as about 700 million trips during China’s national day holiday from Oct 1 to 8 this year,” he told Bernama in an interview during the 6th Global Summit on Urban Tourism yesterday.

In the first half of 2017, Chinese tourists ranked number one for the most outbound trips, at 62 million trips.

“Visa-free regimes with China is the major factor in attracting China tourists to visit those countries.

“Collaborations among airlines also boosted visits to Southeast Asia with more than 2,800 flights connecting those countries with China every week,” said Li.

According to him, Chinese tourists were most drawn by the natural scenery and the chance to sample local food.

“Most of the cities are located near national parks and beaches… besides that, they also like tropical fruits especially durian, mangosteen and mango, which are famous in Malaysia and Thailand,” he added.

Li said Southeast Asian cities should work closely to package multi-city tours and itineraries to woo more Chinese travellers to the region as the demand for air travel continues to grow in China.

“I believe the number of Chinese tourists will grow even faster if the region works together to attract them.”