The travel habits of Chinese citizens are shifting, new statistics have revealed. Thanks to growing disposable income and the relatively short distance between China and neighboring Asian nations, the number of Chinese tourists traveling to Asian countries such as Japan, India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Thailand has greatly increased in recent years.
The revelation mirrors a global pattern recently published by the Global Tourism Economy Trend Report. Although Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region contain the world’s top 10 tourist destinations and remain the top three regions in the global tourism landscape, the proportion of travel to Europe and the Americas has significantly dropped.
The report showed that, between 2005 and 2016, total visits to Europe fell from 25.6 percent to 16.3 percent, while visits to the Americas fell from 27.3 percent to 17.7 percent. In contrast, travel to the Asia-Pacific region has climbed from from 43.5 percent to 63 percent.
The change in travel habits can partly be attributed to visa initiatives recently implemented by many Asian nations in an effort to boost tourism in their countries. Many countries have greatly improved their visa faculties by increasing the number of personnel dedicated to visa processing, extending visa validity, and implementing online visa systems which make it easier to apply for and obtain travel authorization.
Additionally, many countries with strong tourism industries have greatly extended the number of nationalities able to obtain visa-free entry, in an effort to further boost tourist arrivals. A number of Asian countries have already completely removed visa requirements for Chinese citizens, including Indonesia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
According to data released by the China Tourism Academy (CTA), tourists from Mainland China made more than 71.3 million trips outside their country in the first half of 2018, and most visited Asian countries. The majority traveled to Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia, a development also likely fuelled by the increase in direct international flights connecting with lower-tier Chinese cities.
The History of Chinese Travel to Neighboring Asian Countries
Although historically China had much influence in the culture of neighboring Asian countries such as Japan, Korea and Vietnam, security interests and conflicts largely kept the cultures apart well into the modern era.
This began to change in 1978, when the then leader of the People’s Republic of China, Deng Xiaoping, began a reform of the country’s foreign policy and open China up to the world after 30 years of closed doors. The establishment of better relations with China’s Asian neighbors was considered a major part of this reform involved
Relations only improved when the Chinese shifted their focus on trade with the United States to increasing trade with its neighbours during the 1990s and early 2000s. Since then, the major economies of Asia have experienced incredible growth in their trading relationships with China, especially Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India.
And as China has grown in economic strength and developed stronger relationships with its neighbours, it only makes sense that its citizens would seek to use their increasing disposable income to travel to some of the stunning countries in its vicinity.
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