A survey released on September 18 by the Big Data Research Institute and Beijing-based online travel agency Qunar showed that Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong are the top five Asian destinations for tourists from mainland China.
A mid-September survey also showed that 80% of Chinese respondents want to travel abroad in the next year, the highest figure in two years.
Dao Viet Long, CEO of Hanoi-based travel company Fantasea, said Nha Trang, Da Nang and Phu Quoc were favorite destinations for Chinese tourists before the pandemic. He added that during the peak tourist season, more than 20,000 Chinese tourists flock to Nha Trang via charter flights every day.
Limited travel options and a lack of luxury services have caused Chinese tourists to shy away from Vietnam, Long said. He added that Vietnam is still considered a “cheap” destination because the tourism industry offered low-quality and non-transparent tour packages called “zero-dollar tours” to Chinese citizens before the pandemic.
At that time, many Chinese tourists arrived in Vietnam through cheap tours organized by Chinese travel agencies, in which Chinese visitors stayed in Chinese-run hotels, ate in Chinese restaurants, and shopped in Chinese restaurants. Chinese stores. They also used Chinese tour guides rather than local guides.
Pham Ha, CEO of luxury tour operator Lux Group, said Chinese tourists are the world’s largest outbound tourism market and many Southeast Asian countries are competing to attract tourists to this market.
Ha said Vietnam should improve its promotional campaigns and make the country a luxury destination.
“What Vietnam should do now is to emulate Thailand by offering visa waivers to Chinese tourists and increasing direct routes to China,” Ha added.
Long said improving immigration procedures for Chinese tourists could be a key factor in helping Vietnam regain its share of the major market.
Besides Thailand, other Southeast Asian countries are also making efforts to attract Chinese tourists.
The Malaysian government is considering waiving visas for Chinese travelers, while Myanmar is considering offering visas on arrival.
In the first nine months of this year, Vietnam welcomed more than 1.1 million Chinese tourists, 28% of pre-pandemic levels.