KUALA LUMPUR: Chinese tourists are flocking to Southeast Asia cities, attracted by its cultural familiarity of leisure and dining options which give a boost to the tourism industry, according to World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF).
Its executive deputy secretary-general, Li Baochun said according to studies, Southeast Asian cities namely Bangkok, Hanoi, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bali and Manila were among the top 10 most popular destinations among Chinese tourists.
"Chinese tourists travel all over the world in massive numbers, especially during public holidays such as Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year and National Day.
"In 2016, more than 30 million trips were made between China and Southeast Asian countries, as well as about 700 million trips during China's National Day holiday from Oct 1 to 8 this year," he told Bernama in an interview during 6th Global Summit on Urban Tourism here today.
In the first half of 2017, Chinese tourists were ranked number one for most outbound trips, with 62 million trips.
"Visa-free regime with China is the major factor in attracting China tourists to visit those countries. In fact, collaborations among airlines also boosted visits to Southeast Asia with more than 2,800 flights connecting those countries with China every week," said Li.
Elaborating, he said natural scenery and tasting local food were the most evident features of Chinese tourists during their travel to Southeast Asia countries.
"Most of the cities are located near the national parks and beaches... besides that, they also like tropical fruits especially durian, mangosteen and mango which are famous in Malaysia and Thailand," he added.
Meanwhile, Li said the Southeast Asia cities should work closely to package multi-city tours and itineraries to woo more Chinese travellers to the region as the demand for air travel continued to grow in China.
"I believe the number of Chinese tourists will grow even faster if the region works together to attract them."