Southeast Asian carriers eye huge China tourism market, rush to launch flights

By Hoang Phong   January 8, 2024 | 10:58 pm PT
Airlines are scrambling to launch direct services between Southeast Asian tourist hubs and China, the world's largest tourism market before Covid broke out.

Cambodia Airways on Saturday began flights between Phnom Penh and Chongqing, China’s most populous city with a population of over 31 million, the Khmer Times reported.

The twice weekly service is on Mondays and Saturdays.

The carrier also flies to Beijing, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Macau, Sanya, Jinan, Jieyang, and Haikou.

Cambodia attracted 498,250 Chinese visitors in the first 11 months of last year, or 10% of all foreign arrivals.

Singapore-based Jetstar Asia recently launched a direct service to Wuxi City on two days a week.

It said on its website that the frequency would be doubled from Jan. 15.

Singapore received 1.23 million Chinese tourists in the first 11 months of last year.

Malaysian budget airline Thai AirAsia plans to launch flights, five a week, between Bangkok and Shanghai starting on Feb. 2.

Vietnamese budget carrier Thai Vietjet plans to start direct flights from Bangkok to Beijing on March 1. It already flies to Shenzhen and Hangzhou, Nation Thailand reported.

Thailand expected to get five million Chinese visitors last year but only managed 3.51 million out of a total of 28 million arrivals.

This year it is eyeing eight million Chinese visitors after the two countries agreed to waive visas for each other's citizens starting in March.

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