The United States has been voted the third most satisfactory destination for Chinese outbound tourists, according to a survey conducted by the China Tourism Academy. Despite a growing number of complaints about destinations abroad in the third quarter of 2014 – including problems with tourist services, urban construction and management – the United States, with a general score of 79.79, remained Chinese tourists’ third-most satisfactory travel destination, after Italy (79.95) and Singapore (79.82), said the academy.
The report, released in Beijing on Oct 10, said the “basically satisfactory” level of 76.98 was a little higher than the previous quarter, but still relatively low. Other destinations popular with Chinese tourists include Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Thailand and France.
According to the survey, the degree of satisfaction was based on the urban image, services of the foreign agencies, local transportation, including coaches, trains, taxis and buses, as well as the Chinese-friendly services, including road signs and custom services in the Chinese language.
“Most of complaints are related to the tourist products, service quality and Chinese-language information services,” said Lu Zhongguang, a professor with the academy.
Chinese tourists remain the biggest spenders on travels overseas and the largest outbound travel market, with the number of outbound Chinese tourists reaching 97.3 million people in 2013, a 20 percent rise over 2012. The number is expected to reach 115 million in 2014, with a year-on-year increase of 17.5 percent, said the academy.
Chinese tourists’ spending abroad is believed to exceed $155 billion, a 20.8 percent increase compared to the same period last year, the report said. According to tourism shopping tax refund company Global Blue, Chinese outbound tourism spending accounts for as much as 27 percent of total global consumption, followed by Russia, Indonesia, the United States and Japan.
“Compared to shopping and dining, Chinese tourists are more than ever interested in spending in special cultural experiences and in-depth tourism products,” said Dai Bin, head of the academy. “The ever expanding market is also more than ever picky about the services and experiences they pay for abroad,” Dai said.
As Chinese travellers continue to gain momentum as the world’s strongest outbound travel spenders, tourism related industries, including hotels and airlines, are showing their commitment to the key market.
The Chicago-based Preferred Hotel Group, a hotel alliance of more than 650 independent hotels and resorts, has come up with a “China Ready” campaign aimed at making travel more inviting for Chinese travelers while helping member hotels attract and retain the influx of business. In addition to new websites in Mandarin, many of the member hotels are equipped with Chinese-speaking staff and thermoses of hot water and tea bags to cater to the tastes of Chinese visitors.
“As a key focus market for our brands and for our hotels, the hotel alliance is designed both to support the country’s outbound travel needs and to bring new exposure to our members in China and around the world,” said Anthony Ross, executive vice-president of the organization’s Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa sectors.
Hawaiian Airlines has also equipped all of its flights with Chinese-speaking flight attendants, menus and entertainment on demand in Mandarin, in addition to in-flight meals designed around the eating habits of Chinese travelers.