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Asia wants to attract “quality” Europeans

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Quality over quantity, trade urges Asian NTOs
Chinese, Japanese and South Korean tourists already dominate the visitor lists of many South-East Asian countries, but the travel trade thinks more can be done to attract high-end long-haul leisure travellers and nurture the FIT market coming into the region.
While Chinese visitors are now Cambodia’s second biggest market, the European market, which lags, is of more value, thinks Sreat Mom Sophear, director of Sophiya Travel and Tours Cambodia.
“It’s not just about numbers, it’s about the value of each tourist. The North Asian market tends to do more repeat visits and come more for shopping, whereas for the European market it will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip so they have a higher budget,” she says.
The managing director of Vietnam’s Dong Travel, Dong Hoang Thinh, echoes her sentiments, saying the FIT market in these countries needs to be targeted more on a national level.
“[China] is a particularly hard market to break. It is very competitive, there are communication barriers and they tend to use their own operators, who organise specific hotels and tours.”
Vietnam is shifting its focus towards the Chinese market, but with an eye on quality. Both countries have entered an MoU this month to foster visitor exchange.
“China is one of the most important markets in Vietnam, but now we need to focus on quality rather than volume,” says Ha Van Sieu, vice chairman, Vietnam Administration of Tourism.
As Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism gears up to embrace tourism countrywide, minister Ohn Maung says that attracting “quality” tourists is top of the agenda but tour operators need to lead the way.
“We are focusing on the Western market but will not neglect the East. However, we want quality. Tour operators can choose the rates and lead the market so we get this quality.”
TTG Asia

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