Date: 04-23-12 21:23
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/travel/news/the-great-rise-of-china-as-tourist-destination/story-fn32891l-1226336169715 An April 23, 2012 article titled "The great rise of China as tourist destination" found at Australia's Herald Sun newspaper's web site.
By Angela Saurine
* China expected to surpass France and US for number one spot
* More airlines flying from Australia, new regions emerging
* New Asian destinations emerge as Aussie love affair continues
CHINA is set to become the world's biggest travel destination by 2016 as it lifts travel controls and invests in roads, railways and airlines.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation predicts China will overtake France and the United States on its list of the destinations which receive the most tourists each year.
France had nearly 79 million tourist arrivals in 2010, the US had nearly 61 million and China had nearly 56 million.
But China is set to rise up the ranks as travellers flock to historic sites such as the Great Wall of China and explore its diverse culture and exotic culinary offerings.
Australian travel companies are being forced to increase the number of tours they offer to cater to the growing demand.
Helen Wong's Tours managing director Helen Wong said increased accessibility and improvements in accommodation played key roles in attracting more tourists to China.
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A decade ago there were no direct flights from Australia to China, but now several airlines fly there, including Air China, Qantas, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, China Airlines and Jetstar.
Ms Wong said a growing number of Australians were seeking to explore beyond the traditionally strong centres of Shanghai, Beijing, Xian and Guilin.
More Australians were interested in travelling to lesser-known centres such as Pingyao and Taiyuan.
"They want to see and learn more about ancient Chinese culture and traditions,'' she said.
"The requests don't just stop at group tours. Independent travellers want to be escorted to these areas as well.''
Wendy Wu Tours managing director Alan Alcock said it was much easier to get tourist visas for China now and China was more familiar thanks to greater media exposure.
"Within China itself the Government has made it a lot easier for genuine tourists to move around," he said.
"There are very few parts of China on the main tourist trail where you have any restrictions.
"One of the biggest problems in the past was that you had to have very restricted itineraries - there were specific places you could or couldn't go to."
Mr Alcock said his country was introducing one or two new China itineraries a year and had also launched a luxury tour program thanks to the development of new hotels and business class in domestic flights within China.
In the meantime, London is emerging as a hot spot for Australian travellers who are keen to take part in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June.
Travel booking site Travel.com.au said the number of people who have booked flights and will be in London during the celebrations is up 77 per cent compared to the same time last year.
China to surpass US & France (current top destination) to become the world's top tourist destination?
I usually don't post from Chinese sources...bit of prejudice from living in the Western world...but to get over that...
http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2012-04/20/content_15097279.htm An April 20, 2012 Xinhua News article titled "China to be biggest source of outbound tourists" found at the China Daily web site.
BEIJING (Xinhua) - China is widely anticipated to overtake Germany and United States to become the world's biggest source of outbound travelers by the end of this year, an industry insider said Thursday.
The remarkable achievement is well ahead of predictions, Matt Thompson, project director for the China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market, said at a tourism fair held in Beijing.
For the last few years, China has been leading the trend and the latest figures confirm the dramatic rise of China as a source for outbound tourism, he said.
The China Tourism Academy put the final figures at approximately 70 million overseas trips made by Chinese mainlanders in 2011, an increase of more than 20 percent from the 57.4 million trips taken in 2010.
This year, it is predicted that about 78 million Chinese will travel overseas, and the consumption generated from outbound tourism will hit a record high of $80 billion, Thompson said.
He said several factors have contributed to the growth, including the expansion of China's middle class, increasing support from the Chinese government, the relaxation of visa application procedures and the appreciation of China's currency.
By the end of this year, China will overtake Germany and the United States to become the world's biggest source of outbound travelers?!?!?!? ;-0
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2012-04/22/content_15107822.htm An April 22, 2012 China Daily article titled "More Chinese heading to Reykjavik".
By Mike Peters
From Beijing, Iceland's ambassador to China likes to say, "You can be in a steaming spa in Reykjavik in 12 hours!"
She probably didn't need to tell China's most famous geologist, Premier Wen Jiabao, about the promise of Iceland's hot rocks before he flew to Reykjavik on Friday. And while the Chinese leader's schedule was probably too full to allow him to head straight for the steam, the volcanic island attracts a growing number of Chinese tourists who do just that.
Last year almost 9,000 Chinese came to Iceland on tourist visas, says Ambassador Kristin A. Arnadottir. That was an increase of about 80 percent over the previous year, and the latest figures compiled by the embassy suggest the trend continues. For the first three months of this year, Chinese tourists to the country were up 83 percent, a rate of growth not registered by any other foreign nationality.
So why are more Chinese going there?
"Because Iceland is the most beautiful and amazing country in the world," says embassy culture and trade representative Haflidi Saevarsson with a wide grin.
"And because patterns of Chinese tourism changing." Chinese visitors to Iceland have typically come as part of a bigger tour, but as more affluent Chinese become well-traveled, "they look for destinations where they can relax and have a slower, more meaningful experience" instead of racing from museums to cathedrals across Europe's biggest cities.
"Iceland is a fairly big island and it's the size of Jiangsu province," he says. "So you really need a week to see it all. Those around-the-island tours are now being offered in China, and there are more flights available from China to Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki." Those capitals are all a commuter flight away from Reykjavik.
Geysers including the original "geysir" that is the namesake of all of nature's hot-water fountains in the world - are popular attractions easily reached from the capital. Eruptions at Geysir can hurl boiling water up to 70 meters in the air, though eruptions can be infrequent.
Another geothermal wonder is Blue Lagoon. Because this famous hot spring is on a peninsula, says the embassy's Saevarsson, groundwater is soaked with seawater, so mineral content of the lower layer of the soil is higher. That gives the spa a reputation for therapeutic effects, making it particularly popular with Chinese tourist groups, who enjoy the spacelike landscape and white-colored water on the lava field.
Other attractions are served up at normal temperatures. Gullfoss waterfall is a photographer's delight, while historians enjoy day trips to Thingvellir, where the world's first parliament was established around 930 (lawmakers continued to convene there until 1798).
A relaxing hot spring spa is the order of the day. ;-)
http://gulfnews.com/business/features/chinese-tourists-boost-sales-1.1011556 An April 22, 2012 article titled "Chinese tourists boost sales" found at the Gulf News web site.
Booming economy, purchasing power make them lap up high-end brands
By Cleofe Maceda
Dubai: Brand-hungry consumers from China who travel far and wide, including Dubai, are increasingly snapping up luxury items that would cost a lot more back home.
Retail shops around town, including the ones operated by Rivoli Group that markets over 100 international prestigious brands, are seeing a growing number of Chinese filling their shopping bags with luxury watches from Omega, Brequet, Blancpain, Glashutte, Jaeger Le Coultre, IWC and Longines, mobile phones from Vertu, and a bunch of products from Mont Blanc.
The surge in demand is fuelled by the continued economic growth in China and rising income of its citizens. In 2010 alone, the UAE recorded about 150,000 visitors from China.
"We have experienced a phenomenal jump in the number of Chinese shoppers across all our brands in the luxury segment," Abraham Koshy, group general manager of Rivoli Group, observes.
"They have come to appreciate quality and are, therefore, very brand conscious. Due to their booming economy and increased spending power, they are now more inclined to travel abroad and purchase luxury items such as watches, writing instruments, and eyewear."
Chinese are among the top five nationalities shopping at Rivoli's stores, which offer high-end brands with five-digit price tags and a mix of affordable luxury and fashion brands with four-digit prices.
"Our Chinese customers are mainly visitors or tourists and we experience a surge in the visitor numbers during the festive season and the Dubai Shopping Festival [DSF]. Interestingly, the number of Chinese resident shoppers has also risen considerably over the last few years in the UAE," Koshy adds.
What should one buy when in Dubai? ;-)
http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2012-04/19/content_15089231.htm An April 19, 2012 article titled "US plan spurs spike in visas for Chinese" found at the China Daily web site.
By Chen Jia
Washington - New policy to facilitate processing may boost American economy
The United States, hoping to rev up its economy through greater travel from China, is on the way to meeting President Barack Obama's 2012 goal of a 40 percent boost in the processing of visas from the country.
US consular officials in China issued more than 453,000 visas in the current fiscal year's first half (October-March) compared with 310,000 during the first six months of fiscal 2011, a 46 percent increase, the State Department disclosed Wednesday.
As part of its "Jobs Diplomacy" agenda, the department has been stepping up visa processing because travelers are an important economic engine for the US.
Earlier this year, Obama called for a national strategy to make the US the world's top travel and tourism destination, to generate jobs and revitalize the still-recovering economy.
More than 1 million American jobs could be created over the next decade if the US increases its share of the international travel market, officials estimate.
Among other initiatives, the State Department has cut the average waiting time to five days for Chinese applicants seeking an interview for a US visa.
The department is also considering the addition of visa-issuance services in Wuhan.
To further streamline processing, the department recently dispatched its first group of "consular adjudicators" to consulates in China to help regular Foreign Service employees. The new hires undergo similarly rigorous security screening as the more traditional diplomats but are recruited based on their Mandarin-language skills.
The Chinese mainland is on its way to becoming the leading source of cross-border tourism in the world, according to a report last week by the National Tourism Administration and Chi na Tourism Academy.
Mainland tourists made 70 million trips to foreign countries, as well as to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan last year, up 22 percent from 2010.
Jiang Yiyi, director of China Tourism Academy's International Tourism Development Institute and one of the main compilers of the report, said that figure was 1.2 times the number of US citizens who traveled abroad in 2011.
"US visas application was really inconvenient in China, particularly for those who do not live in Beijing and Shanghai," Zhao Jie, 28, who has lived in New Orleans since 2008, told China Daily on Wednesday.
"My friends used to waste their flight tickets back home in other cities because the visa application interview got delayed in Beijing," she said.
"Americans should not only take Chinese tourists' money but also furnish more convenient and comfortable conditions to win over Chinese tourists' hearts," said Cao Xi, a 28-year-old Beijing resident who chose the US for her honeymoon destination three years ago.
"I would like to visit the US again to celebrate our marriage anniversary this year if the visa application could be much easier," she said.
The State Department initiatives also include Brazil. US consular officials in that country issued more than 555,000 visas in the first half of fiscal 2012, a 59 percent increase from the same period a year earlier.
I'm glad the US government has instituted an expedited visa process to help Chinese tour America. ;=-
There was also a New York Times article on how high end department stores in New York are hiring Mandarin-speaking wait staff to cater to the growing Chinese clientele for their luxury goods but the NYT is limiting free articles to only 10 per month and Kobo's used up his quota for April. ;-=0