The Spratly effect on Tourism

Does the Spratly decision make China a new Cuba?

The last six months has seen multiple issues in France, terrorism and political coup in Turkey, Brexit, local elections with inconclusive results, an end of financial year during school holidays.

July through September are not busy periods for writing new business and this year has been more challenging than most. It’s not just you. Heads up!

There’s an issue forgotten as Sonia Kruger surprises the world with her views, football players get done with cocaine and Pokémon go goes crazy.

 It was the Spratly Islands decision announced 11th July. Seems like forever ago.

 Theoretically the Philippines own the land. China turned it into a strategic military outpost. America took the moral high ground and dobbed on them, did flyby’s, the Australian military did a “float by”  and the Hague said

“China, you have been naughty and you shouldn’t have built your cubby house because it’s not your backyard.”

As expected, China is going to ignore this, the Philippines got angry, the Indonesians got flustered,  Tokyo said take notice and the Americans found an even higher horse.

What does this mean for tourism?


Not a lot. It’s not a holiday destination. Everyone is just posturing and finding out who supports them, so on and so forth. Lots of blah blah, military flyovers, floatbys and Americans continuing to spend 60% of all tax revenue on the military. Travel as you like.

Medium term

It’s a shipping lane with strategic importance. As everyone starts taking this position, China starts issuing warnings. Other’s warn them back, they all take offence and before we know it diplomats are being removed from a number of countries.

China kinda becomes like the new Cuba . Depending who you are and where you come from it might be a bit tricky to get a tourist Visa for China. People like the Americans may not be very happy if you’ve got a Chinese stamp in your passport. It’s all about pressure.

Makes it very difficult to get to these places of interest.

And Later…

Not going to be good for stability in our region which is definitely not good for tourism. Everyone gets a bit more ansty about what is their territorial zone, who you can do business with and  flight routes will be affected. Prices will go up. Airlines like that.

 China starts getting upset no matter where you’ve gone including Tokyo, Indonesia and anywhere else who is not their pal. The argy-bargy will get more intense as Beijing already says America has overstepped its mark. There will be intense pressure on the Australian government from China and from the US and we can expect limitations on freedom of trade from one and the other as this escalates.

A massive complicating factor is Rodrigo Duterte – the  newly elected president of the Philippines. He doesn’t mind joking about the rape of Australian missionaries in the Philippines. He’s also said he’s pretty open to some discussions with China about the Spratly Islands.

Philippines is a poor country. China is not. Philippines owns the islands. China does not. China can look very nice if they say “okay, we were wrong, we would like to buy the islands from you”.

That’s going to change things in tourism in this region, and the world,  forever.



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