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Chinese demand, according to AirAsia, has not returned as expected.

Following the end of the pandemic, fewer travelers than anticipated used AirAsia to enter China.

With tickets only filling up half of an airplane’s seats, Malaysia-based long-distance budget airline AirAsia X has not been able to fill its seats at the 90% pre-pandemic level on its China routes. This exemplifies the difficulties facing the second-largest aviation sector as it starts to open up to other countries.

Benyamin Ismail, the CEO of AirAsia, stated in an interview on Wednesday that,

Sales haven’t been booming since many people are still confused about the criteria for Chinese nationals returning to China, such as whether they must be quarantined. We are unsure whether you would need to stay at a center even though they claim to be open if you have COVID.

Due to the COVID preventive program, China had been in severe isolation for three years until suddenly removing flight restrictions and starting to open its borders in January. Due to the sudden change, many embassies and consulates in China were understaffed and unable to make necessary preparations.

Chinese businessmen have as a result had to wait six to eight weeks to obtain business permits to visit Europe. Benyamin also disclosed that AirAsia X will launch flights to Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Chengdu this month, with Beijing services following in April.

Due to the COVID testing requirements and the convoluted visa application process, he claimed that outbound travel from Malaysia to China has been significantly underperforming.

Half a fleet and a profit

For the three months ending in December, AirAsia X declared a profit of RM153 million (34.5 million American dollars), with the year-end travel season helping to boost the figure. With the release of this information, firm shares soared, rising by 40% on Wednesday to their highest level since October 2021.

During the epidemic, Benyamin added, the airline had scaled back its order of Airbus A330neos and A321XLRs; nonetheless, the airline is still committed to receiving the 15 A330neos and 20 A321XLRs. The larger member of the A321 family is designed for use in smaller Chinese and Indian cities. Instead than just replacing aging aircraft, it is intended to increase the airline’s network.

The globe is happy to welcome the surge of Chinese tourists.

The number of Chinese tourists traveling outside of China is rising, in contrast to the number of travelers within China, which fell short of expectations. Hello from Thailand!

The Chinese tourists who had just arrived on the 9th were cordially welcomed and lavishly showered with gifts by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin, Minister of Transport Sasaeng, and Minister of Tourism and Sports Piap.

The greatest source of tourists for Thailand is China. According to the Thailand Tourism Board, Chinese tourists returning to Thailand will help the country’s tourism sector grow even more.

An estimated 300,000 Chinese visitors are expected to travel to Thailand in the first quarter of this year, and 5 million are expected to do so overall. According to the AP, Thailand, Indonesia, and other popular tourist destinations in Asia have opted not to put any limitations on Chinese visitors.

Overseas tourist spots will welcome a sizable influx of Chinese travelers during this year’s Spring Festival. According to data, orders for international travel during the seven-day Spring Festival soared by 540% when compared to the same period in 2022, while the cost of orders rose on average by 32% annually.

During the Spring Festival, travel orders to Melbourne, Australia, climbed more than 50 times from year to year, and travel orders to Bangkok, Thailand, increased more than ten times.

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