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China – Fitch Ratings says the slow reopening of China’s borders will delay APAC casino’s rebound

By - 5 January 2022

Fitch Ratings has said that China’s decision to slow the reopening of its borders will limit international tourism across the Asia-Pacific region and hamper the rebound of the casino industry.

Fitch analysts George Xu and Stephen Schwartz said: “International travel remains subdued across APAC as border restrictions are being reimposed amid the Omicron COVID-19 variant. Fitch Ratings expects a slow recovery in international tourism across APAC during 2022, despite higher vaccination coverage and stepped-up reopening efforts.

“The evolving global epidemiological situation poses a high degree of uncertainty and a tourism recovery in destinations with low vaccination rates, such as the Philippines and Indonesia, will remain vulnerable to setbacks. Pent-up travel demand remains to be diverted domestically, as we believe it will take time to restore confidence in cross-border travel safety.

“We expect China to maintain its ‘zero-COVID’ policy through most of 2022, with quarantine-free travel corridors set up only for Macau and Hong Kong. China was a key source market for tourism-dependent economies, such as Thailand, pre-pandemic.”

They added: “Travel prospects are a key rating driver for tourism-dependent sovereigns. Tourist arrivals have been well below pre-pandemic levels across APAC” even with jurisdictions such as Australia having recently reopened their borders. APAC economies have been slower to ease cross-border travel restrictions than other regions.”

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