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Overseas destinations cater to Chinese tourists

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-21 08:20

Overseas destinations cater to Chinese tourists

Ibiza Old Town, also known as Eivissa Dalt Vila, is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Ibiza, Spain. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Ibiza, an island off the east coast of Spain, welcomed 150 Chinese tourists earlier this year, a rare sight for locals. Encouraged by their arrival, Gloria Corral Joven, head of the local tourism bureau, led a team to Shanghai in mid-November to promote Ibiza as a destination for Chinese tourists.

"We are building a Chinese website, which will be open to the public early next year," Joven says.

Ibiza was one of 18 exhibitors from Spain, an emerging destination for Chinese tourists, at the Shanghai International Tourism Fair, which has just ended.

The fair attracted more than 2,500 exhibitors from 106 countries and regions, and is one of the largest tourist events hosted in Asia.

"China is a very important market for Spain," says Rafael Chamorro, an official from the Spain National Administration of Tourism. "Our research shows that young Chinese people prefer customized, personalized travel routes, and we are designing such packages to cater to their needs."

Not only fledgling markets like Spain, but also destinations such as New York are working hard to attract Chinese tourists.

"See Your City", a campaign launched at the fair by NYC & Company, New York City's official marketing organization, encourages visitors to visit scenic spots such as the Statue of Liberty and Fifth Avenue to create their own magical moments in the city.

The number of Chinese visitors to New York more than tripled between 2010 and 2015, but the city is now hoping to draw even more Chinese visitors.

"China has become the second-largest overseas market for New York tourism. And we hope to attract more Chinese by partnering with Shanghai as we celebrate the China-US Tourism Year this year," says Fred Dixon, head of NYC & Company.

About 128 million Chinese flocked overseas last year, almost 10 times the figure in 2001, according to a report by the Wuhan branch of the China Tourism Academy.

The report showed that the Chinese spent $292.2 billion overseas, about 23.2 percent of the world's outbound consumption in 2015.

This makes China a huge chunk of the global tourist pie.

Also, unlike earlier when going abroad was simply a matter of collecting postcards from around the world, Chinese travelers are now pickier when it comes to traveling and want more authentic experiences.

More meaningful encounters with local communities are now more popular with young people, as well as destinations with long histories. And this is why Ibiza is attractive to Chinese tourists.

Four of Ibiza's historical sites have UNESCO World Heritage status, Joven says, adding that she believes that this will attract more Chinese tourists. Meanwhile, better services are also being offered to attract Chinese.

A report from Ctrip, a major travel-service provider, says that the rise in the disposable incomes of middle-class families increased air-travel capacity and the loosening of visa requirements has boosted outbound tourism.

Safety, service and price are the three issues Chinese tourists care about most, the report says. "Language is the biggest obstacle for Chinese visiting Spain, so we are working with China's Tencent at this year's fair to develop a translation app," Chamorro says.

To satisfy diversified travel needs, packages tailor-made for Chinese travelers were offered at the fair.

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