Behavior of Chinese Tourists

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Over the past decade China has been, and still is, by far the fastest-growing tourism source market in the world and the Chinese market is one of the tourism sector’s major growth opportunities. An essential first step to ensure destinations and companies develop and distribute products that fully meet the Chinese market is to comprehend the behaviour and mind-set of Chinese outbound travellers. Due to rapid development, rising disposable incomes and relaxation of restrictions on foreign travel, the volume of international trips by Chinese travellers has grown from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012 (Cripps, 2013). Expenditure by Chinese tourists abroad has also increased almost eightfold since 2000. Boosted by an appreciating Chinese currency, Chinese travellers spent a record US$ 102 billion in international tourism in 2012, a 40% jump from 2011 when it amounted to US$ 73 billion (UNWTO, 2013). With sustained growth, China has become the largest spender in international tourism globally in 2012. In 2005 China ranked seventh in international tourism expenditure, and has since successively overtaken Italy, Japan, France and the United Kingdom. With the 2012 surge, China leaped to first place, surpassing both top spender Germany and second largest spender United States). According to UNTWO by 2015, over 100 million Chinese will travel aboard, a bench that was originally forecasted for 2020. Businesses and tourism destination have to not only accommodate for the ever growing number of Chinese tourist, but accommodate them in a way that makes the Chinese guests feel welcome and comfortable. Chinese tourists perceive that westerners see them as class people, even when they spend a lot of money. Business and destination now more than ever before need to accommodate Chinese tourists. Making improvements in areas like service and better understanding Chinese expectations will help us accelerate this growth. This remarkable growth, largely due to the rise of a Chinese middle class with disposable income, has required the travel industry, from hotels to restaurants to shopping centers, to adapt to this inflowing of Chinese tourists.

”The hotel industry has perhaps been the most observant. Marriott has stationed 20 sales representatives in China and teaches employees in the U.S. to speak basic Mandarin phrases like hello and thank you. The Marriott Marquis in New York City has even replaced room numbers on the 44th floor with names because the number four is considered bad luck in many Asian cultures” (Sanburn, 2013). A common complaint found amongst Chinese tourists is the concern of the lack of hot drinking water and Chinese tea. Because Chinese hotels traditionally provide a large set of “standard amenities” (e.g., toothpaste and toothbrushes, combs, shampoo and lotion, slippers, shoe mitts, even disposable razors and shaving cream), Chinese tourists, particularly those first-time overseas travellers, generally expect foreign hotels to do the same thing. This expectation, if unfulfilled, could create a bit frustration as some Chinese tourists do not pack such items when traveling, and they might not be able to communicate with the hotel requesting these items due to language barrier (Xiang, Chengting, Rich, Sheryl, & Liangyan, 2011). One way hotels can better serve Chinese tourists is equip rooms with tea kettles, slippers, translated restaurant menus and welcome brochures, on-site translation services and comfort food such as congee (rice porridge) and noodles to make their stay more welcoming. China is the second biggest source of visitors for New Zealand and accounted for 8 percent of visitors in November 2012. The Chinese overtook UK tourists for the first time that month, but are still far fewer than the 45 percent of visitors that came from Australia. New Zealand went to lengths to produce a tourism video with young Chinese travellers renting a campervan to explore state parks independently (Ministry of...
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