08.09.2016 Author: Sofia Pale

Who Will Win in the Struggle for Chinese Tourists?

3453453452342423Chinese tourists have visited every angle of the world. The Chinese tourist boom started began after 2008, when many countries of in the world either introduced either a visa-free regime for Chinese citizens, or simplified the visa procedures. Today, the number of such countries has reach a total ofed 57. Revenues from the growing tourist flow from the Celestial Empire are merging entering into the global economy, thus changing its environment. According to the results of 2015, 100 million Chinese citizens travelled outside China, having spendingt $215 billion. In 2016, this number increased by 13% in comparison with to the previous year, and China became the first leading country in the world by in terms of the volume of international touristsm, as well as by in terms of the average expenses of tourists expenditure abroad. By 2020, the tourist flow from China may double, if the Chinese government plan to increase the GDP 2 times over 5 years is implemented. This will undoubtedly , and, therefore, thimprove the general living standards in the country also improves.

Chinese tourists are traditionally attracted prefer visitingby South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Macao, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. The share proportion of Chinese visitors in to Australia and Pacific Islands is one of the largest. The most fFavourite European directions destinations forof Chinese tourists are include France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Russia. According to the Chinese Tourism Academy, the Chinese are most satisfied with visiting Great Britain, Germany and Australia, followed by. Then comes Canada, New Zealand, France, Spain, Italy, the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Russia and Cambodia.

However, the Chinesey are greatly dissatisfied the most with thea low level of service in the Chinese language, especially in the Western countries. In this regard, the countries competing for the tourist flow from China China are hastily takeing the relevant measures to correct this.

Thus, under the initiative of VisitBritain, the National Tourism Agency of Great Britain VisitBritain, in 2015, the names of the local places of interest were adapted for Chinese visitors in 2015. As a result, a London street that is popular among tourists – Savile Row – was named as a ‘”Llong, Rrich and Bbeautiful Sstreet’.” The highest London building in London, the – SShard Sskyscraper, – became a “‘Ttower of Sstriking sStars.” For easier pronunciation, the Ccity of Edinburgh was made to sounds like “”Ai Din Bao”” for the Chinese.  Gherkin Bbuilding, which the Londoners is jokingly called by the Londoners as a cucumber, was translated into Chinese as Huángguā (cucumber). A village on the island of Anglesey in Wales, known to the whole world due to its unpronounceable name – Llanfairpwillgwyngyllgogerychwyrnprobwllllantysiliogogogoch, – is simply referred to in the Chinese guidebooks as ‘”VA village offor hHealthy lLungs.” Traditional Scottish games, the – Highland Games, – are called ‘”Holiday of Sstrong Mmen in Sskirts”’ in Chinese.

This measure increased the flow of Chinese tourists to Great Britain by 40% in 2015.

It is believed estimated that every 22 Chinese tourists create one new permanent work placejob in the tourismt sector of the of economy for citizens of the host country. It This means that the competition for tourists from Chinesea tourists is more than rewarding.

For example, in 2015-2016, Italy and France attracted had police officers from China to patrolling the streets that were close to tourist routess in 2015-2016. This unusual measure was taken in order to make the vacationings of Chinese guests feel more comfortable and safe. Moreover, the Chinese police officers, who speak European languages very well, wear uniforms adopted in China so that their compatriots will be able to recognize “”their fellow citizens”” and, if necessary, ask forseek help in the Chinese language, if necessary.

This experience might be useful for Russia, as was the case in Q1 the first quarter of 2016 when, the number of guests from China grew by 80% in comparison with the same period in the previous year. This is an unprecedented figure, despite the fact that in recent years, the volume of tourists from China has been growing fast in recent years, and amounteding to an average 70% per year. This inflow is caused not only by the policy of adaptation of the Russian tourist service in accordance with the China fFriendly criteria (a project to for increasinge Chinese tourist traffic to Russia that was launched in 2014), but also by because of the recent weakening of the Russian ruble, which has made a trips to Russia very profitable for the Chinese.

However, after Brexit, the popularity of Great Britain’s popularity as a tourist direction for Chinese guests is rising also increases due to the weakening of the pound sterling after  Brexit. Russia is still wins leading in the competition to to attractt Chinese tourists, who themselves rank third after guests from Poland and Finland. A relatively close distance closeness ofbetween Russia to and China in comparison with the European countries also contributes to this, as well ascoupled with a low ticket prices of tickets and an almost complete absence of visa formalities (Chinese tourist groups comprising from 5 people do not need visas to travel to in the Russian Federation). The most popular places to visit among Chinese tourists are the major Russian cities of: Moscow and Saint Petersburg that are situated in the European part of the country, and as well as Vladivostok and Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East. It is interesting to note that, thanks to the a song of by thea Chinese singer, Li Dieu, called “Baikal”, which enjoyed wide popularity in China, 3 times more tourists visited Irkutsk in 2016 than as compared to last year, as they wished to visit the places that were glorified in the song.

The wWarm relations between the leaders of China and Russia certainly stir up great interest of among the Chinese in their northern neighbour. In addition, Chinese tourists spend on average 1.8 times more than affluent tourists from the Western countries. They have also remained the main consumers of the top range goods, and have give maintained the same preferences when to shopping and or sightseeing.

However, Chinese tourists do not always bring delight to the citizens of the host countries. There are frequent complaints are about their very excessively loud speech, their lack of cultural etiquettee, untidiness and interference with local hindrance to local pedestrians. Sometimes, the Chinese scratch their hieroglyphical names on the cultural monuments. Recently, the same referred was reported to pertaining tothe US tourists, the number of whichwhose number in the European countries and Russia hasd reduced significantly due to the decreased living standards of the American citizens after the 2008 crisis of 2008.

The USA is also losinges the struggle for in the attraction of guest from China. Thus, In 2015, 3.1 million Chinese citizens visited a small Italy, a relatively small country, in 2015, while only 2.9 million went travelled to the USA. The USA attempted to change the situation and by issuinged museum audio guides and city maps in Chinese. The results were disappointing, and: the Chinese interest in visiting to the USA among the Chinese increased only by just 37% in 2015. T, and thhis figure represented thea general growth rate of for international tourism from China.

Thus, , currently, Russia can be called viewed as the leader of in the tourist inflow from China. Despite the fact that only 1 million Chinese guests visited our country in 2015, this is just a beginning that promises an increase of the tourist inflow from China by an average 100% annually during in the next five years.

Sofia Pale, PhD, Research Fellow of the Center for South-East Asia, Australia and Oceania of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine – “New Eastern Outlook.