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Singapore takes lead over Thailand and Vietnam in wooing Chinese tourists back


Singapore has outpaced its neighbors in regaining Chinese tourists, boasting a 96 percent recovery rate, well ahead of Thailand and Vietnam.

According to the Singapore Tourism Board, the city-state welcomed 327,000 Chinese tourists last month, nearing pre-COVID levels. In comparison, Thailand saw an influx of over 600,000 Chinese tourists in February, marking 60 percent of the figures recorded during the same period in 2019.

Meanwhile, Vietnam welcomed 295,000 tourists from China, representing nearly half of its pre-pandemic levels, as reported by tourism authorities.

Singapore recently joined the ranks of Southeast Asian countries waiving visa requirements for Chinese tourists, with a reciprocal visa waiver agreement taking effect on February 9th.

Thailand and Malaysia had abolished visa requirements for citizens from China last year.

Chinese tourists extended their stays in Singapore, averaging 4.22 days compared to the overall 3.46 days for foreign tourists, reflecting an 8.7 percent year-on-year decrease, according to the Singapore Tourism Board.

Despite concerns about high travel expenses in the city-state, the average expenditure per visit by Chinese tourists in Singapore, covering costs such as flights and accommodations, surged by 30 percent from the previous year, according to Bloomberg, citing data.

While Thailand’s tourism image suffered a setback due to a mall shooting incident and elevated crime rates involving foreigners, it remains one of the most desired travel destinations for Chinese tourists.

According to Chinese media reports, 41 Chinese cities operate direct flights to Thailand, and Thailand received nearly 11 million Chinese visitors in 2019, representing nearly 25 percent of total inbound travels in Thailand.

Based on data from Tongcheng, air ticket bookings from China to Thailand have increased by 80 percent this month, with searches for Thailand-related travel products increasing by 200 percent compared to the previous month.

Currently, Thailand is in the process of legalizing the casino business. According to the latest update, the Thai House is set to debate a new casino bill on March 28th.

Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan is an editor, interpreter, and journalist. With over a decade of experience, she writes in English, Chinese, and Portuguese. Viviana started her career in Macau-based newspapers, where she became passionate about the region's social, financial, and cultural development. Her writing focuses on the economy, emerging industries, gaming development, political affairs, and cross cultural-exchange in the business and cultural domains. She is avid for news and eager to discover and cover stories that generate public relevance.