China's strict quarantine policy was in place for years. Now that it is lifted, millions of Chinese citizens who have yearned for international travel are finally able to do so. This is a significant development for countries that rely on Chinese tourists, presenting a major opportunity for them to capitalizing on the situation. However, before they can fully welcome these eager visitors, concerns and preparations must first be tackled.
THE POTENTIAL FOR ECONOMIC BOOM
As Chinese citizens begin to travel abroad again, there will be a significant economic impact on the countries they visit. The Economist projects that Chinese tourists will have spent around $258 billion on international tourism after the reopening, an increase of around 7% compared to the pre-pandemic level in 2019. This is a major boon for countries with a significant number of Chinese tourists, including but not limited to the US, Vietnam, Australia, Canada, and Thailand. Knowing this, governments and tourism industries there must take steps to prepare for the influx of Chinese visitors adequately, or risk losing millions in uncapitalized tourism income.
WHAT MUST DESTINATION COUNTRIES DO?
The most essential actions include offering Chinese-speaking staff, Chinese-language signage, and accepting Chinese mobile payment methods. Ensuring adequate infrastructure, especially transportation modes and accommodation, is also vital; the Economist estimates that in some areas, more than one million Chineses could be present at any given time. Additionally, governments can promote their countries as safe destinations for tourists by implementing strict pandemic control protocols in their homeland. Apart from that, care should be taken to ensure that Chinese visitors are treated with respect. Race-related crime must be swiftly dealt with, and hospitality industry staff must receive additional anti-racism and multicultural training.
One concern that has been raised is the risk of tourists from China bringing the coronavirus to their destinations. However, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control, the strain of the virus in China is relatively mild and the vast majority of people who contract it experience only mild symptoms. This notion is backed up by various national and international health organizations worldwide. Moreover, a representative from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a key organ in combatting the pandemic in the US, even states that the likeliness of dangerous new coronavirus variants from China is very low.
By being prepared to welcome Chinese tourists, many countries can capitalize on the situation and maximize national income. With the risk of Chineses bringing in the coronavirus being relatively low, it is most important that Chineses are not treated with bigotry and welcomed with open arms.
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