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Malaysia, Vietnam hit as tourists head for East Asia

中国日报网 2014-06-11 11:01

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More tourists from China have been heading to East Asia in recent months, deterred from traveling to traditionally popular destinations such as Malaysia and Vietnam.

Travel agencies nationwide have reported a 50 percent year-on-year increase in visits to South Korea in the past few months.

"While some tourists canceled trips to Southeast Asia, most chose other places. South Korea, with its convenient flights and affordable tour packages, has won many Chinese hearts," said Shi Kaifeng, a publicity officer at Ctrip.com International, a Chinese online travel agency.

The agency estimated that more than 100,000 Chinese tourists would head to South Korea via its service this year.

Other agencies, including China International Travel Services and BTG International Travel and Tours, have reported similar increases.

Other short-haul destinations such as Japan, Cambodia and Singapore are also seeing more tourists from China, Shi said.

Yang Jinsong, a professor at the China Tourism Academy who focuses on international tourism, said mainland travelers have become less willing to visit Southeast Asia.

This is due to negative impressions following the disappearance in March of a Malaysia Airlines plane on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The Boeing 777-200 was carrying 239 people, 154 of them Chinese.

Yang said Chinese tourists have also been deterred by anti-China violence in Vietnam, disturbances in the Philippines and Thailand and misunderstandings between mainland tourists and Hong Kong residents.

The China National Tourism Administration has warned tourists against visiting Vietnam., while some mainland travel agencies have suspended tours to some destinations in Southeast Asia.

"The Chinese mainland is one of the major tourist sources for those destinations, and it is estimated that these negative perceptions will last for some time," Yang said.

(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

About the broadcaster:

Anne Ruisi is an editor at China Daily online with more than 30 years of experience as a newspaper editor and reporter. She has worked at newspapers in the U.S., including The Birmingham News in Alabama and City Newspaper of Rochester, N.Y.

 

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