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Chinese tourists flock to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand during Lunar New Year, as overseas travel bounces back from Covid-19

The increase also provides a welcome relief to countries whose tourism industries rely on the Chinese and their spending for growth, although the outlook for a sustained recovery in overseas travel is overshadowed by a sluggish mainland economy and volatile financial markets that have seen consumers tighten their belts at home.

The holiday in 2024 lasted for eight days, one day more than the Lunar New Year break in 2019.

Reflecting the boost from visa waivers, hotel bookings for Bangkok tripled over the period from February 10-13 year-on-year, while those for Singapore jumped nine-fold, according to travel platform

Spending in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia combined on the Chinese mobile payment platform Alipay increased 7.5 per cent in the period from February 9-12 from 2019 levels and nearly 7-fold from last year, Alipay said.

However, overall consumer spending only recovered to 82 per cent of levels four years ago, the company said.


Lunar New Year rush under way in China with more travel overseas and to major domestic cities

The gambling hub of Macau, the only place in China where citizens can legally gamble in casinos, recorded a surge in Chinese tourists with more than a million visiting over the holiday and average hotel occupancy rates reaching 95 per cent, according to official data.

The jump in tourists bodes well for some of the world’s largest casino operators in the former Portuguese territory, including Sands China and Wynn Macau.

JP Morgan said in a note it expected daily gross gaming revenues for the peak of the holiday to hit US$124 million for the first time in more than four years – higher than the US$112 million generated during the October 2023 Golden Week holiday.

Mass gaming rates were