Developing tourism: countriesâ€™ best practices
On the 12th of May, the Chinese travel company Taniu Corp. launched an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq index in New York. The debut of the Nanjing-based firm in one of the a worldâ€™s leading stock markets is the most recent evidence of the boom in Chinese outbound tourism. The year 2013 ended with nearly 98 million Chinese traveling abroad, and governmental activities promoting the sector topped the agenda of various countries.
THROW IN A TEMPLE - Australia is the first, also due to geographic reasons, to carry out a clear and comprehensive strategy to attract Chinese travelers, preferably wealthy ones and those with a more independent attitude than in the past. The online portal Tourism Australia highlights a â€œChina 2020 Strategic Plan,â€ including market analysis and satisfaction reports on the part of Chinese visitors. There were 709,000 tourists from China in 2013, an increase of 14.5% from 2012. A huge Buddhist temple with an 18-meter tall statue of Siddharta is being built in southern Australia as an additional touristic site with a religious flavor.
EASIER TO COME, EASIER TO STAY - In Europe, about 1,4 million of Mandarin-speaking tourists pushed France to the top of the chart as the most visited country on the continent. Being number one has its downside, though: the growing number of swindled Chinese citizens has recently caused alarm in the media. On the other side of the English Channel, crossed by 270,000 Chinese travelers last year, the â€œChinaWelcomeâ€ program was launched by the United Kingdom in late 2013. The aim is to reach 650,000 visitors by 2020 and high-end Chinese hotel chains, such as Shangri La and Mandarin Oriental, are investing throughout the country. The program focuses on easing visa restrictions for selected tourists and on spreading awareness among tourism businesses in order to assist visitors with info sheets, websites and guides in Mandarin, as well as directing them towards shops that accept UnionPay credit cards. Additionally, the brand new initiative â€œGreat China Welcome Charterâ€ steers Chinese travelers towards â€œChina Readyâ€ accommodations, restaurants, cafes and shops. As a consequence of this, tourism has started spreading outside London to reach other urban centers.
SMALL BUT AMBITIOUS - Even if on a smaller scale, Ireland has started on the same path. In a survey of 1,000 middle-class Chinese with a desire for travel, 62% of them showed some familiarity with the islandâ€™s main tourist spots. Earlier this year, Ctrip, Beijingâ€™s largest online travel agent, named Ireland â€œbest potential destinationâ€ for 2014. The official Tourism Board of Ireland pumped â‚¬200,000 into promotional campaigns in mainland China, targeting the countryâ€™s more urbanized and developed areas: Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and Guangzhou. Ministerial missions were sent to the East and four Irish tourism offices are already operating in China. Dublinâ€™s aim is to welcome 50,000 Mandarin-speaking visitors per year.