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Hungry to travel

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-12 08:04
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And the Chinese are developing an appetite for tours featuring health preservation and culture and art appreciation, while earlier, they used to predominantly opt for shopping for luxury goods and sightseeing, says Zhang Yuhong, an official with the China Travel Service.

Self-drive tourism abroad is also becoming a big hit with Chinese travelers, half of whom were born in the mid-1980s and '90s, as shown by bookings through China's biggest online travel agency Ctrip.

The Chinese travel boom has prompted the host destinations to come up with new facilities for their guests.

For instance, Dubai has rolled out its China Ready program, where Chinese-language services at local restaurants, hotels and scenic spots are readily available.

The city received 764,000 visitors from China last year, a jump of 41 percent over the previous year, after it began offering free visas on arrival to Chinese citizens.

Separately, Indonesia has come up with a "10 Bali islands" plan, which includes infrastructure development, from Sumatra in the west to Maluku in the east.

In addition, several Southeast Asian countries plan to spend more than $100 billion to build airports, railway lines, hotels and theme parks to beef up facilities for Chinese visitors, the Singapore-based Lianhe Zaobao reports.

Thailand will work with Japan to build a high-speed rail line connecting Bangkok and Chiang Mai, while Malaysia wants to build rail lines to boost tourism development along its east coast.

Japan now not only has Chinese tour and shopping guide services at its major scenic spots, but also provides the mobile phone-based Alipay option for its Chinese guests.

More than 40,000 shops in the country, including Lawson and Don Quijote, support the payment method favored by Chinese travelers.

In Europe, Italy has put up Chinese signage at its major airports and train stations. The country has developed wedding and sport-themed travel attractions tailored to Chinese tastes.

"China's outbound tourism has become a strong engine for the world's tourism economy, and plays a positive role in improving the employment and economic potential of the destination countries," says Li Xinjian, head of the tourism management institute at the Beijing International Studies University.

Shi Peihua, an official with a China travel think tank, says that with China's reform and opening-up policy, China's outbound tourism will continue to grow.

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