Let’s face it: there are still uncertainties. What happens now that China has reopened its border for international travel? What does that mean for local shoppers? How will that affect our economy? Is there a positive outlook, or will it ignite global inflation?
Well, in the grand scheme of things, it could mean that the luxury market in Singapore is poised for a resurgence. Chinese tourists’ unyielding spending power is particularly evident in the high-end tourism and fashion sectors. They have, traditionally, long been a driving force for our economy and the luxury segments.
As for the discerning consumer, what can you expect? For starters, it could mean increased competition for those limited-edition luxury items you had your eyes on. As they have a penchant for premium goods and services, you may have to pay a premium for high-end products and services.
Why East Asia or Singapore?
Chinese luxury travellers prefer closer destinations, says luxury business analyst Antonello Germano. Analysts expect them to play it safe and opt for closer destinations in East and Southeast Asia for now. Daxue Consulting reported domestic flight bookings from mainland China increased by 254% on the day China announced its reopening. Trip.com also listed Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, and Thailand as the top five destinations for Chinese travellers. These destinations are likely to be a top choice for Chinese tourists seeking the best of the best while travelling. So, if you’re planning a trip to these destinations, you may have to reach deeper into your pockets and book way in advance.
In 2019, Chinese visitors made up 25% of all visitor arrivals in Singapore, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. They also accounted for 20% of total visitors and with total spending of S$8.3 billion. Indeed, they are a major driving force in the luxury market in Singapore with a considerable impact on the Republic’s economy.
China’s easing its restriction on international travel will be a welcomed development for Singapore that have been hit hard by the pandemic. Chinese tourists’ return will, inadvertently, drive the demand for hotel rooms, airline tickets, luxury goods, and high-end dining experiences. Ultimately, this could help the city-state’s luxury market to bounce back.
Despite an optimistic economic outlook, the pandemic continues. There are risks involved, that’s for sure. There will be decisions, preparation and more work to be done as we adapt to China’s reopening. The possibility of a fresh wave of Covid-19 infection may also cause unease and discomfort among our frontline workers when serving Chinese travellers.
Now that China has reopened to travel, progress and vaccine rollouts will be crucial for more international travel. Both Chinese travellers and host countries need to be mindful of these issues and find a balance that benefits both sides.