China crackdown on online gambling seen slowing Chinese arrivals in PH
The arrival of Chinese nationals into the Philippines may suffer a slowdown as China enforces a ban on online gambling although Japanese and South Korean tourists were likely to make up for the decline, according to a report by the Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank).
The bank said Southeast Asia was also benefiting from trade tensions between the United States and China in terms of Chinese tourist arrivals, according to the Oct. 18 report, “China Tourists: Divergent Tides.”
Maybank said Asean is reaping the fruit of the trade and tech war between the US and China as Chinese tourists avoid the so-called “five eyes”—US, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK.
Chinese nationals prefer to go to Macau than Hong Kong amid social unrest in the former British territory.
In the Philippines, the number of Chinese arrivals jumped 61.1 percent in August alone, according to the report.
In the first eight months of 2019, Chinese arrivals in the Philippines climbed 39 percent, the report added.
The report referred to a “Golden Week” in October during which Asean countries saw strong tourist growth, placing Thailand second, Singapore sixth, Philippines seventh and Cambodia ninth on a list of countries having the most visitors from China.
The United States was not on the top 10 list, said Maybank.
Tension between South Korea and Japan was also diverting tourists from the two countries to the Asean, the bank said. It added that the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand were the “big beneficiaries” of the Japan-Korea feud.
The Philippines saw a 52 percent rise in Korean arrivals and 21 percent rise in Japanese arrivals in August, the bank report added.
The bank, however, noted that China’s crackdown on online gambling was likely to slow Chinese arrivals in the Philippines.
The same situation is true in Cambodia.
The two countries, said the Maybank report, “may face a slowdown as China cracks down on online gambling and governments tighten regulation.”
The emergence of Philippine offshore gaming operations, or Pogos, has led to a “China tourist boom,” the report said.
Prior to the Pogo birth, China accounted for only 5.9 percent of arrivals in the Philippines. It jumped to 22 percent in August 2019, Maybank said.
While President Rodrigo Duterte did not stop Pogos from operating despite an appeal from China, Maybank noted that the state-run gaming regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) already issued a moratorium on new licenses since August.
The Bureau of Immigration, through the Department of Justice, was planning to limit to 30 days the maximum period for visas from six months currently. /TSB
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