Southeast Asian Countries Should Benefit Most from China’s travel revival, Says Economist

Countries in Southeast Asia stand to gain the most from China’s move to remove travel restrictions as they have steered clear of the Covid-19 tests before entry that Europe, Japan and the United States have imposed on arrivals from the world’s second largest economy.

After three years of harsh domestic curbs, China is preparing to open its borders again on Sunday (Jan 8), unleashing a surge of travelers eager for diversion despite rising Covid-19 infections.

According to the economist at CIMB, the Chinese are likely to opt for “minimal hassle” and visit destinations with less travel restrictions or that do not require Covid testing, meaning that the Southeast Asian region should benefit.

Countries in Southeast Asia have all declined to require inbound Chinese to pass a Covid-19 test, even though Australia, Britain, India, Japan, and the United States all do.

Except for Malaysia and Thailand testing airplane wastewater for the virus, the region’s 11 nations vowed to treat Chinese travelers the same as any other.

“We are not taking the stance of discriminating (against) any countries,” said Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Likewise, Thai authorities stated that all countries should be treated equally.