BEIJING, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Singapore, and Cambodia are welcoming the return of Chinese tourists with open arms as China resumed outbound travel.
Thailand welcomed the first Chinese tour groups on Monday. The groups from China arrived in the Thai capital of Bangkok, greeted by flowers and a warm welcome from Thailand betting on tourists' return to boost the recovery of its vital tourism sector.
In Cambodia, Air China flight CA745, carrying some 125 Chinese tourists, arrived Tuesday at the Phnom Penh International Airport from Beijing and received a warm welcome from Cambodia's Tourism Minister Thong Khon and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian as well as other officials.
Before the pandemic, China was the world's biggest outbound travel market. Its total number of outbound tourist trips was 155 million in 2019. According to the World Tourism Organization, China's total expenditure on outbound tourism hit 277 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.
During the Spring Festival holiday from Jan. 21 to 27, China saw nearly 2.9 million cross-border trips, up 120.5 percent year on year, and 308 million domestic trips, up 23.1 percent and back to 88.6 percent of the 2019 level for the same period.
With the gradual and orderly recovery of outbound tourism, more countries are expected to receive tour groups from China.