Singapore emerges as most favorite destination of Chinese tourists

By Hoang Phong   November 21, 2023 | 11:34 pm PT
Singapore emerges as most favorite destination of Chinese tourists
Chinese tourists pose for photos with the Merlion statue at Marina Bay in Singapore May 3, 2023. Photo by Reuters
Singapore has surpassed Thailand to become the most favored outbound destination of Chinese tourists, in the latest survey by Singapore-based digital marketing firm China Trading Desk.

17.5% of Chinese respondents plan to travel to Singapore, followed by Europe (14.3%) and South Korea (11.4%), according to the quarterly travel sentiment survey that polled over 10,000 Chinese residents on their upcoming international travel plans published this month.

Malaysia is the fourth most popular destination of Chinese tourists, followed by Australia.

Thailand, which used to be the most popular destination for Chinese tourists in the first quarterly survey, plummeted to sixth place, with just 10% of respondents selecting it as one of their future destinations, the report said.

Vietnam did not appear on the list though China used to be the largest source of tourists for the country's inbound tourism in 2019.

In the first 10 months of this year, Vietnam received over 1.3 million Chinese tourists, equivalent to 30% of pre-pandemic levels.

"Thailand’s decline in popularity can be attributed to various Chinese media outlets portraying Southeast Asia as an unsafe destination," the survey said.

Thailand is gradually losing its appeal to Chinese tourists, especially following a recent shooting at the Siam Paragon mall in downtown Bangkok that killed a Chinese national and another foreigner.

It had hoped to attract 4.4 million tourists from China this year but so far only around 2.9 million have come.

The survey also pointed out many Chinese tourists are also keeping away from Japan due to the release of water from its tsunami-destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean, beginning in August.

Deemed one of the world's safest places, Singapore, famous for its strict gun control and low crime rate, has started benefiting from the Chinese travel sentiment changes.

Chinese tourists are now the second largest market of Singapore after Indonesia, according to Singapore Tourism Board.

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