Business / Industries

Industry group examines Peru's potential for Chinese tourists

By Andrea Deng in Peru (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-06 14:14

The Republic of Peru is being pushed as a potentially huge tourism destination for Chinese visitors, but the inconvenience of traveling there is still seen as major hinderance, China's tourism industry leaders said during a visit to the Latin American country on Thursday.

With no direct flights, Chinese travelers are faced with a grueling 30-hour trip to get there, which usually includes at least one, sometimes long, stopover in Europe or the United States.

But even if a direct flight was launched between the countries, that would be likely to take 17 hours, said Pansy Ho, managing director of Shun Tak Holdings Ltd.

"It could probably take at least a couple of years for both governments to work out a smoother traveling experience for Chinese tourists," said Ho, who is in Peru in her capacity as founder of the Global Tourism Economy Research Center, "so we need to start building an industry relationship now between the private sectors.

The center has brought a 30-strong delegation of senior industry officials on a tour of the Pacific Alliance countries of Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia.

They include representatives from China Chamber of Tourism, China Women's Chamber of Commerce, and others from investment banking, catering, entertainment and tourism sectors.

The group has arrived shortly after a trip to Peru by Premier Li Keqiang, during his recent visit to Latin America, which resulted in a series of economic development collaboration deals that aim to enhance ties and mutual benefit between China and the region.

Official industry figures show around 25,000 Chinese tourists visit Peru annually - a tiny number within the country's growing tourism industry which saw nearly 3.86 million international tourists visit in 2014, and considering that 107 million outbound visits were made by Chinese tourists last year.

"With traveling made easier with the Internet and so forth, it is important that we reach out to further market sources," said Ho, "and that is why we're here in South America."

She said there are huge opportunities in Peru for Chinese companies to explore, linked to the industry, such as infrastructure and real estate development, and other supplementary services that come together under the overall tourism economy.

Ho is the daughter of Stanley Ho, the veteran Hong Kong and Macao business magnate, who founded Shun Tak Holdings, which has wide shipping, property, hospitality and investment interests.

Magali Silva Velarde-Alvarez, Peru's minister of foreign trade and tourism, said the country is an ideal gateway to other South American countries as well as Central America, thanks to its geographic position.

Wang Ping, chairwoman of the China Chamber of Commerce, voiced reservations on the distance between the two countries, and said efforts have to be put into making that an easier process.

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