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  • Adina-Laura Achim

The Impact of Travel Restrictions on Global Economies

Countries have implemented travel restrictions, and airlines worldwide have suspended flights between China and various destinations around the world to help combat the Covid-19 virus. And while the success rate of these attempts is debatable, the negative economic outcomes are clear.

In the recent past, countries such as the US, Australia, the UK, Japan, Cambodia, and Vietnam have profited from Chinese citizens’ hunger for tourism. Some of these economies now depend on the influx of Chinese visitors they receive, and a significant part of their GDP comes from Chinese tourism. Some communities, such as the coastal province of Khanh Hoa, have even been revitalized as a tourism-based economy focusing extensively on Chinese travels.

Vietnam, for instance, has seven provinces bordering China and because of favorable Sino-Vietnamese relations, the country was a top-destination for mainland travelers. Just to put things into perspective, around 1.71 million Chinese tourists visited Vietnam in the first four months of 2019. Thailand has also profited from Chinese tourism. In 2018, around 10.5 million Chinese travelers visited the country, and their spending brought in around 11 percent of Thailand’s GDP. But ASEAN countries (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) aren’t the only ones benefiting from massive Chinese tourism.

Just to put things into perspective: In 2000, only 10.5 million Chinese traveled abroad, but in 2017, there were 145 million cross-border trips taken by Chinese tourists. Nowadays, Chinese visitors represent 10 percent of all international tourists — and they are big spenders. The spending habits of mainland tourists has stimulated GDP growth and job creation around the world, reviving local communities in Italy, Spain, the US, and the UK. As an example, roughly 10 percent of tourist spending in Florence, Italy, comes solely from Chinese travelers.

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