ASEAN Tourism and China will be able to strengthen their ties at the China International Travel Mart (CITM) in Shanghai, 15-18 November 2012.
The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) has provided ASEAN with two booths to boost bilateral tourism relations. ASEAN is keen to increase the number of Chinese visitors to the region as China's economy continues to grow the fastest in Asia Pacific.
According to the UNWTO's World Tourism Barometer report on the first half of 2012, ASEAN countries are some of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the world, with international visitor arrivals into Myanmar up 36%, Cambodia 26%, Singapore 12%, Philippines 12%, Vietnam 11%, and Thailand 8%.
China continues to be the biggest or fastest growing contributor of international visitor arrivals to most of those destinations.
The UNWTO reported that Southeast Asia as a region showed a 9% increase in arrivals compared to 4% for Europe, 5% for America, and 7% for Africa.
Specifically, between China and Southeast Asia, ASEAN Secretariat statistics show that Chinese tourists visiting ASEAN increased from 3.9 million in 2007 to 7.3 million in 2011. The annual rate of increase accelerated from 6.3% to 9% in the same period. With further implementation of the November 2010 ASEAN-China Air Transport Agreement, Chinese and ASEAN officials expect the rate of increase to grow faster.
"The latest forecasts we have are that China's contribution to ASEAN's international visitor arrivals will continue at an accelerated rate," said Mr. Ma Mingqiang, Secretary-General of the ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) in Beijing.
China has caught up with the European Union as the biggest supplier of tourists to ASEAN. China and Europe now each supply around 9% of ASEAN's total international visitor arrivals.
At CITM the ASEAN nations of Southeast Asia will emphasize the region's proximity to China, increasing low cost carrier links and an abundance of new travel products suitable for China's emerging middle classes.
To make the point, ASEAN Tourism will launch a dedicated Chinese language website in January 2013. ASEAN in cooperation with the ASEAN-China Centre, will also feature Southeast Asian tourism content on SinaWeibo, one of China's largest social media platforms.
While Chinese visitors have frequented ASEAN's cities, shopping malls and theme parks for years, ASEAN beach resorts now see a clear demand from a younger Chinese demographic for beach holidays, formerly the reserve of Western tourists and more recently Japanese and Korean travellers.
During CITM, ASEAN Tourism representatives will also promote the ASEAN Tourism Forum, which takes place in Vientiane, Laos, 17-24 January 2013. Some 1,600 delegates including 150 ASEAN tourism ministers and officials, 800 ASEAN exhibitors, 400 international buyers, 150 international and local media and about 100 travel trade visitors are expected to attend.
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