Go West, Young Man
Outbound tourism is outstripping even the most positive predictions of a decade ago as Chinese travellers head to the furthest reaches with wanderlust in their hearts and stuffed wallets in their pockets.
"To be wise, a man should read ten thousand books and travel ten thousand miles." Li Bai (Tang Dynasty poet)
"After hearing so much about Europe's beauty from the TV and magazines, we saved for three years to pay for our holiday there in June this year. When we got to Paris, we were expecting something really grand but the hotel rooms were small, the food was poor quality, the people we met seemed a bit cold and in some areas of the city, we didn't feel very safe." Mr. Liu Feng of Shanghai, who went to Europe for the first time in 2005.
This reaction to Europe is not uncommon from Chinese tourists who are used, in their own country, to high standard hotel accommodation at low prices, clean and modern transport systems and very low crime rates.
A few years ago, the number of Chinese tourists travelling abroad was so small that their opinions and experiences were not taken too much into consideration by the industry in Europe.
Now, however, the numbers are starting to look impressive and early movers in the travel industry in Europe are driving efforts to find out what can be done to improve the experiences of Mr. Liu and others like him.
China is now the fastest growth market for the European travel industry and with the right approach, hotels, B&Bs, shops and attractions across Europe stand to win large profits from this newly opened market.
Last year, around 31 million Chinese travelled overseas. In the main, they visited other Asian destinations like Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea, but two million Chinese also travelled to Europe and that figure is set to rise year on year. By 2020, Europe can expect 13 million Chinese visitors annually.
Travel is particularly... [continues]
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