China’s Growing Tourism

17 Apr

The U.N World Tourism Organization released a report this year which revealed that tourists from China now spend more on international travel than tourists from any other country; $102 billion in 2012, which is 40% more than they spent in 2011. German tourists who have long been the world leaders of travel spending abroad have now for the first time been overtaken by 80 million Chinese tourists travelling internationally in 2011. These numbers are perhaps not surprising considering the growth of the Chinese middle class who can now afford more foreign travels.

So what is the main reason that makes the Chinese want to travel the world? Shopping, it seems like, and it is especially luxury goods that the Chinese tourists look for when going abroad, since these can be bought 20% to 30% cheaper in other global cities like New York or Paris. So if the Chinese are thinking of doing a lot of expensive shopping, it could actually be cheaper to fly overseas to do it!

The travel industry in the U.S is adapting to the wave of Chinese tourists with everything from ““In-room tea kettles, slippers, translated restaurant menus and welcome brochures, on-site translation services and comfort food such as congee (rice porridge) and noodles” as well as teaching basic Mandarin phrases to employees. And it is probably a good thing, since the number of tourists from China is projected to grow even further. By 2015, 100 million Chinese will travel abroad.


4 Responses to “China’s Growing Tourism”

  1. aa29g11 April 18, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    It is evident that China’s growing middle class will continue to travel across the globe as growing levels of disposable income enable them to do so. Yet, the issue lies in whether the West is able to cater for the influx of Chinese tourists. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt, from the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute highlights that “Chinese tourists often say they feel treated like second class people, even when they spend a lot of money.”

    This issue is becoming more apparent with cities such as New York, giving guests a tea kettle and slippers upon arrival. But Dr Arit, believes that these so called ‘small’ gestures are not what the Chinese want. Tourist agencies often follow the cultural stereotypes associated with Chinese society, thereby failing to provide tourists with what they actually want.

    The solution is to use social media in order to determine what Chinese tourists want. “There are millions of Chinese everyday writing about their travel experiences and things they don’t like,” says Arlt. In order to provide the necessary services appreciation needs to be given to their thoughts.

    Although this is the case, there is a fear that the newly rich middle class are treating the West as their playground. There have been many instances where some newly rich, mainly young, Chinese tourists believe that because they have money to throw around on leisure, they are omnipotent.

    It will be interesting to see whether the West will further accomodate to the needs of Chinese, or the Chinese may accomodate to the customs of the West.

  2. zifeng kang April 18, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    As Chinese economy rising quickly, the people expecially in mid-class are earning far more than before, and have the financial ability to travel abroad. As Peter Robinson indicates that 80% Chinese tourists spent more than 2000$ on shopping in American or EU regardless their incomes, and the number of tourists is growing rapidly every years, especially in Chinese traditional festival and sales time in the West. The traditional thoughts of Chinese people are changed, they tended to save money in the bank and not willing to spent it, but now they would like to spent it on shopping, eating and travelling.

    Indeed, the China is the biggest consumer in luxury goods now, regardless the little attraction such as Chinese translation or Chinese style gesture, the country has the big market to consume. People are getting rich, and there is a bad habit are bought that people like to compare with others, for example, A has a luxury hand bag, B sees that and think I also have the ability to own that, so B buys one as well. This could be a reason that there is an increasing number of people spent large money on luxury good. Moreover, the luxury goods in China are 30% or more expensive than the West, and people may think travel abroad to see different culture and shopping is a good combination.

    Personally, Chinese authority should encourage people to travel abroad, no just for shopping, but also popularize that the importance of travelling, it can widen people’s horizon and educate people that there are lots of advanced things we need to learn from it. Anyway, as the living standard raises, Chinese are willing to see different world and experience different culture, this should be encouraged and also beneficial to gross-countries.

  3. btdb1g10 April 18, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Indeed, as righty stated above, the number of Chinese tourists have increased by wide margins these few years. This must be seen in light of the increase income earned, the number of people in poverty greatly reduces and the perspective of Chinese changed as the Chinese wants to see the world instead of saving their money in the banks. China have opened up to a great extend as the communist ideas slowly but surely eroding away.

    Chinese have become more affluent and her people becoming more materialistic. It is not hard to observe the steady increasing flow of Chinese tourists almost everywhere in the world,especially in the major departmental stores around the world!

    From another perspective, the increasing number of tourists will positively boost the growth of other economies, provided they are sharp and resourceful enough to utilise this golden opportunity to earn the Chinese bucks. Perhaps countries should improve their tourism attractions, infrastructure to attract more tourists. Also, more advertisings should be done on a broader scale(in other countries) to create more awareness.

    This tourism boom will be surely a good thing for everyone, from the tourists to the locals. Not only they stand to gain in terms of monetary value, they have the added advantage of letting the world know about their culture, heritage, way of living and the beauty of their homeland. Let us be gracious hosts and welcome the tourists to our native lands, of course not only the Chinese tourists obviously.

  4. iw4g11iw4g11 April 25, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    The increase in Chinese tourists means a change in consumption behaviour in the international market place namely the tourism industry. The industry will capitalize on the change in preferences and adapt much like the industry did in Asia when tourism became more viable as the exotic countries became more accessible. I doubt however that European retailers and tourist destinations will change their culture to the extent that many south East Asian countries did when western tourism increased. The change in these areas came out of necessity and versatile entrepreneurs as it provided an opportunity for jobs and income where previously there was little. This is the differentiating aspect between the scenarios now and then. For example go to a Southeast Asian tourist destination and western tourist will find many of the home comforts readily available such as menus. It would be unlikely to find a hotel in the south of France changing its menu to accommodate for Chinese tourists. There is scope however for tourism directly intended for these new Chinese tourists, businesses and retail shops that specifically cater for the Chinese tourist. This would address the issues that face the unsatisfied Chinese tourists.

    If this trend continues retailers will soon lose out on custom if they do not identify and act upon the Changing nature of their high spending customers.

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