Malls from Macau to Bangkok want to entice Chinese customers into their establishments with red lantern displays, special dances to honor the Year of the Rabbit, and discounts as they trickle back to tourist destinations for the Lunar New Year vacations.
Due to delayed capacity increases, the total number of international flights from China is still just 12% of pre-pandemic levels.
However, as the nation's borders are reopened after three long years of Covid-19 limitations, shops in well-known Asian vacation spots are eager to capitalize on the return of a first wave of Chinese travellers.
This is because Chinese consumers have been a greatly overlooked cornerstone of the global retail and travel industries: Before the epidemic, their trip expenditure had increased to US$255 billion and, according to estimates from Bain, was responsible for 33% of purchases of luxury personal products worldwide.
A Macau casino official stated, "We're clearly witnessing an uptick in traffic across both the gaming and retail side of the business."
For the first time since May 2020, the number of daily foreign flights from China exceeded 300 this week, reaching 310, according to statistics from VariFlight.
When it resumed regular operations this week, Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines announced that its flights to the Thai resorts of Chiang Mai and Phuket were, respectively, 99% and 95% filled.
Additionally, strong demand for places like Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand has improved prospects for the ailing travel sector, according to Ctrip booking data.
According to managing director Supoj Chaiwatsirikul, the Iconsiam upmarket shopping mall in Bangkok, which is home to Louis Vuitton and Prada outlets, is launching an "Eternal Prosperity" campaign for the Lunar New Year with the goal of increasing traffic by 10% to 15%.
Giant bunny decorations have been added to the Marina Bay Sands resort's upscale retail in Singapore.
However, travel destinations worldwide indicate that the return of Chinese tourists is still extremely nascent.
Some destinations' new Covid-19 testing regulations for Chinese tourists maybe pose a barrier, while some require permits that take time to process.
Retailers in South Korea have also reported that they have not yet noticed a significant increase in Chinese tourists, noting the suspension of short-term visas for visitors between the two nations.
Retailers in Hong Kong, where mainland tourists have increased significantly, claim that this hasn't yet resulted in a huge boost in sales, with many individuals appearing to be traveling only to visit families.