Sunday, March 3, 2024

Commentary: Visa Waiver Agreement puts Singapore in a good position to attract coveted Chinese tourists

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China’s leading travel agency hopes the visa exemption will help Singapore maintain its appeal even through the seasonal boom.

“If you look at regions that have fared very well over the past year, first are the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries in the Middle East. Qatar and Dubai have favorable visa policies and are convenient to arrive. We offer a simple online visa application process.

“Singapore and China will now implement visa-free reciprocal travel, and the increased convenience has definitely seen an increase in the number of Chinese travelers visiting Singapore,” said Edmund Ong, general manager of Singapore. told me.

The mirage of China’s revenge traveler

It may be wishful thinking, but it may appear that China is finally unleashing revenge travelers in earnest. However, China’s economic problems are too big to ignore.

The slow return to outbound travel is largely due to China’s disappointing economic restart from the pandemic. As of September 2023, China’s outbound travel spending remains 18% below pre-pandemic levels, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Economic forecasts for 2024 are only going to get worse, with various experts expecting China’s GDP growth to slow from 5.2% in 2023 to 4-4.6% in 2024.

It is hard to imagine that this country will soon be able to get out of its economic troubles. A deep deflationary spiral, record declines in wages, a crisis in the real estate market, high youth unemployment, the list goes on.

The Rise of the Smart Traveler

In this situation, perhaps the most important question is not where, but how. Chinese people will travel in 2024.

Already we are seeing savvy Chinese travelers ease their financial worries on vacation by planning school trips abroad or visiting multiple destinations to stretch their flight costs. .

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