Tourism suffers as China boycotts major travel marts
China’s worsening relations with its neighbours in recent weeks are being demonstrated in the tourism industry too. Much to the dismay of countries elsewhere in Asia, Chinese exhibitors and buyers have refused to attend the Pacific Asia Travel Association Travel Mart in Manila, which ends today, and tourists have stopped flying to certain destinations.
The absence of the Chinese from the PATA mart represents a major change from previous shows. Just two sellers are registered from the people’s republic, plus a couple more from Macau and Hong Kong. Worsening relations with the Philippines over a dispute about an island in the South China Sea are to blame. Last week, China also cancelled its participation at the Japan Association of Travel Agencies Travel Mart in Tokyo because of a row about another group of islands, this time in the East China Sea. Both disputed territories are seen as strategically important due to trade flows and energy resources.
Such actions may be sending the wrong message to the tourism community. China’s 70 million outbound travellers have become a new weapon in dealing with other countries. Nevertheless, Chengdu is due to host the PATA Travel Mart in 2013.
Travel Daily News
[pictured: Chunxi Street, Chengdu]