Gearing up for Chinese New Year

AS Chinese New Year approaches, local tourism stakeholders are bracing for a high arrival of Chinese guests.

Although they have yet to meet with its members, Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialists (Catos) president Alice Queblatin said they expect high arrivals from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan during Chinese New Year.

“Catos members handling Chinese groups expect arrivals from new secondary destinations in mainland China and an increase of direct line charters,” said Queblatin yesterday.

This year’s Chinese New Year falls on a Friday, Feb. 16. According to the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle, 2018 is the year of the dog.

City hotels are now gearing up for visitors from China, said Carlo Suarez, president of Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC).

“Bookings for Chinese New Year are very good. Most hotels and resorts are full during this time,” he said.

Jid Velasco, director of sales at Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, said they have a high occupancy on Chinese New Year.

Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa director of communications Cassandra Cuevas, likewise, said they expect to run a high occupancy rate for Chinese New Year with a high number of guests from Chinese tourists.

“The Chinese New Year is generally a big travel season for Cebu and Central Visayas. We expect a lot of tourists as that is a main travel season for the Chinese market. We will need more tour guides though,” said DOT 7 Director Shalimar Tamano.

Based on the 2017 January arrivals report from the Department of Tourism 7, Cebu welcomed 20,104 tourists from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Last year’s Chinese New Year fell on Jan. 28.

Queblatin said Catos will meet on Feb. 8 to discuss the organization’s preparations for the Chinese New Year, including the expected number of Chinese groups that will be arriving.

Cebu and Bohol are the popular tourism packages that most Chinese guests buy.

Cebu now has 26 flights from Pudong, Xian, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Kunming, Chongquing, and Gwangju.

According to China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (Cotri) the pattern of healthy growth in Chinese outbound tourism in destinations around the world is set to continue in the near future.

In its 2018 forecast, they see 154 million border crossings made by Chinese nationals, representing a 6.3 percent year-on-year increase from 2017’s final forecast of 145 million.

Of the figure, some 68 million trips will be made to Greater China destinations, up by two percent, as well as 86 million arrivals in destinations in the rest of the world, up by 10 percent.

China is the Philippines’ second largest foreign tourism market next to South Korea.

Some 968,447 Chinese tourists visited the country last year, a 43.33 percent increase from the 675,663 Chinese tourists who visited the country in 2016.

DOT 7’s available report shows that guests from China increased by 94.28 percent in the first half of 2017 or 95,180 arrivals. Hong Kong and Taiwan arrivals logged 9,076 and 23,412, respectively.
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