Chinese top market for leisure in Asia

THE growth in the country’s leisure market will be driven by Chinese nationals as their arrival numbers are seen to expand in the coming years, marked by warmer Philippine-China relations.

This is according to property management and research firm Colliers International Philippines based on the recently released Colliers International’s Hotels Insight second quarter of 2017 report, postulating that Chinese tourists will be a prime audience for leisure markets across Asia.

“Rising disposable incomes, relaxed visa rules, and aggressive promotions of low-cost flights are encouraging more tourists to travel outside of Mainland China,” said Colliers.

In the Philippines, Colliers emphasized the warmer relations with the Chinese government since the Duterte administration, that resulted in the lifting of the travel advisory against the Philippines.

“The Philippine embassy in China has reported that visa applications among Chinese tourists and businessmen grew by more than twofold since October 2016,” Colliers noted.

From January to May 2017, arrivals from China rose by 36 percent year-on-year.

According to the Department of Tourism (DOT), China has become the country’s third largest source of international arrivals, behind Korea and the United States.

“The improvement of the Philippines’ infrastructure backbone should ensure that the country will be able to accommodate more Chinese tourists over the near to medium term,” said Colliers.

Cebu can also take advantage of this phenomenon as Colliers noted an increasing number of outbound Chinese tourists venturing into regional destinations.

Arrivals up 91%

Data from the DOT 7 showed that there were 244,925 tourist arrivals to Central Visayas from China in 2016, up 90.81 percent from the 128,358 recorded in 2015.

The private sector in Cebu is also gearing up for more Chinese tourists as GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. expects 10 Cebu-China routes before the end of this year, from four at present.

Meanwhile, among Asian destinations, Bangkok witnessed an exponential growth in tourist arrivals over the past few years. From 2011 to 2015, arrivals expanded at a 7.2 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR), or from 13.8 million to 19.6 million in four years.

Colliers attributed this to Bangkok’s “increasing attractiveness, the growing medical tourism sector, and mounting of new direct flights from China.”

On the other hand, Guam was Colliers International’s “Destination of the Quarter.” From 2011 (1.2 million) to 2015 (1.4 million), international arrivals grew at a CAGR of 3.6 percent, with overnight travelers expected to increase by nine percent between 2015 and 2016. Guam’s goal is to attract an estimated two million overnight visitors by 2020, with China being a major source market.

Colliers pointed out that tourists travel to Guam mainly for leisure purposes, to enjoy the island’s pristine beaches and its excellent diving spots. Direct flights from Taiwan, South Korea and Russia have recently boosted visitation from these destinations, with China being a fast-growing market. (JOG)
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