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Tourism recovery in Asia Pacific - April 2024
Wednesday, 24th April 2024
Source : AP Hospitality Advisors

Japan remains the leader of tourism recovery in February, showing a 7% increase in travellers from the comparable month in 2019.

Other leading countries, including Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand, reached almost the same level of inbound travellers at the same time.

Overall, the tourism recovery shows positive signs across Asia Pacific, and is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels by early next year.

China

As international flights resume gradually, China constantly explores visa exemption programs with more countries, including France, Germany, Singapore and Thailand. In the first two months of 2024, the inbound foreign travellers to China reached about 3 million, approximately 41.5% of pre-pandemic levels.

According to the preliminary projections by China Tourism Academy, the number of inbound foreign travellers could reach 50% of pre-pandemic levels by end of 2024.

China Tourism Academy estimated that the outbound travel recorded strong recovery, reaching 87 million trips in 2023, approximately 56% of 2019 levels. After reopening the border for over a year, China became the top feeder market for popular destinations, including Singapore and Thailand. The international flights are now available to 64 countries, and starting from 31 March, the weekly flight cap between China and U.S. would also increase to 100.

Taiwan

In early April, a 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit eastern Taiwan, the strongest in 25 years. Due to the earthquake, the tourism industry was severely affected, particularly in Hualien. One of the most popular attractions on the east coast, Taroko National Park which attracted 3.45 million visitors in 2023, is now closed for repairs until further notice. The official estimated that the cost of repair would be roughly TWD 1 billion (US$ 30.8 million).

The authorities had set an annual goal of 12 million inbound travellers in 2024. However, the absence of visitors from mainland China and the decrease in visitors from Japan pose challenges for the tourism industry.

As the cross-strait tension remains, Taiwan is still excluded from the list of approved destinations for group tours from China. On the other hand, due to the weak Yen, inbound travellers from Japan recorded only a slow recovery.

Thailand

Thailand is considering legalizing casinos to boost tourism investment like its neighbouring countries. Thailand’s House of Representatives recently approved the final stage of the study on the development of legal casinos in the country. The study recommended imposing a 17% tax on gross gaming revenue – one of the lowest in the region, and the license would be set at an initial 20 years with a minimum investment of US$ 2.7 billion.

The study indicated that Thailand could expect about US$ 12 billion by legalizing casinos and housing them within large scale entertainment complexes. The average spending could increase by 52% to 65.050 baht per trip once the complexes are ready.

While no specific location of the entertainment complex is announced, the gaming floor would account for only 3% to 10% of the total area. Other facilities, including a concert hall and sports venue, are expected to diversify the offering.

AP Hospitality Advisors serves owners, investors, developers, operators and lenders of hospitality assets across Asia-Pacific. The team blends expertise in operations, real estate and finance to support any critical step in the asset life-cycle.

www.ap-ha.com

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