Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The emerging Chinese tourism deficit

Aquis approval has moved closer as the expressions of interest for a regional casino licence are reduced to just the two: Cairns, Gold Coast key contenders for new casino licences

This seems to be yet another change of gear as the process moves again onto a faster track. While still subject to such as planning, gaming and environmental approvals it's difficult to see anything standing in the way from here even if there are any valid concerns. The politics and PR remain well ahead of any process.

This reminded me of an intended post on a recent research note I stumbled upon from Macquarie. I have posted recently on the Australian tourism deficit in departures and arrivals related to the $AUD. Macquarie have looked at the emerging tourism deficit in China in the context of their current account:

Although there were several reasons why China’s current account surplus for 1Q14 deteriorated to only US$7bn, one of the key drivers was rising tourism deficit, up from US$18bn to US$24bn. Until 2010, China’s net tourism contribution was relatively minor (and mostly positive). Over the last two years, there was an explosion of deficits, driven by stagnant arrivals, significant expansion of departures (particularly outside “near abroad” – i.e. ex HKG, Macao and Taiwan) as well as rising spending per trip.

There are some assumptions in here of course related to arrivals, departures and spending etc .  Also the 'near abroad' currently comprise a significant proportion but could almost be classified as domestic (with apologies to the Free Taiwan movement). The proportion travelling beyond 'near abroad' has been rising and this trend is forecast to continue.

The potential for inbound tourism growth to China may be more limited and it is not a sector where China is exhibiting rising competitiveness based on the Travel & Tourism Report 2013 from the World Economic Forum.

Perhaps mercantilist tendencies may provoke a response here from the comrades. The growth of Macau has been based on its exclusive gambling franchise in Greater China. A casino (integrated resort) or two in Shanghai perhaps, or Hainan?

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