With an estimated 100 million Chinese leaving their country to go on holiday this year, hoteliers worldwide are increasingly adapting to make sure they are ‘Chinese friendly’. Although Hong Kong and Macau are still the biggest holiday destinations for Chinese tourists, and the top five preferred destinations are all in Asia, Europe is becoming more popular.
But with Chinese outbound tourism the largest and potentially most important market in the world, there are a number of things hoteliers can do in order to attract visitors, in keeping with Chinese etiquette. Guests should be greeted politely without any physical contact, and the hotel’s business card offered with both hands, according to The Guardian newspaper.
Chinese visitors should never be given a room on the fourth floor of a hotel, or a room with the number four in it, because in Mandarin the number four sounds too similar to the word ‘death’. Restaurant menus and all other hotel information should be in Mandarin, and on the subject of food, fruit should always be served in portions, never whole.
Hot water should be served with meals, and all rooms should have a kettle – guests often use them to cook noodles.Waiters should always serve the eldest or the most highly educated person first. And it is imperative not to point with one finger, but with the whole hand.
Some analysts say it is not enough to cater for Chinese guests simply by serving hot water and cutting up fruit, and that waiters should learn enough Mandarin to be able to ask their guests if they enjoyed their meal.But there are signs that the travel industry globally is taking big steps toward making Chinese tourists feel at home.
At The Ritz in Paris there is a Chinese concierge, and some luxury stores in the capital have employed Chinese-speaking staff. The Waldorf Astoria in In New York gives Chinese guests a tea kettle and a pair of slippers on arrival. Recently it was revealed that 14 hotels in Spain have been rated ‘Chinese-friendly’.
The market for Chinese holidaymakers was worth around $129bn (approximately £82bn) in 2013, according to CityMetric Intelligence, and the Chinese recently overtook Americans as the world’s biggest-spending tourists, splashing out $165bn (£106bn) in 2014.
It is estimated that the market could be worth as much as $310bn (approximately £200bn) in 2018.But in terms of long-haul destinations, London is the 22nd most popular destination for people from China, with just 94,162 visitors from there in 2013 – well behind New York, which topped the list with 646,000.
France was named as the top ‘dream destination’ in Europe in a survey of outbound Chinese tourists conducted by China Confidential.Italy was in second place, followed by the UK and Germany, although the top five countries actually visited were all in Asia.
Chinese tourists have attracted some bad press recently abroad, but the Chinese government has drawn up a blacklist of citizens who behave badly. People found guilty of antisocial behaviour, vandalism, gambling or going to strip clubs will be placed on the list for two years and will face additional, unspecified punishments.
Last year, George Osborne announced that 25,000 Chinese tourists visiting the UK in organised groups could get their visa costs refunded, as the government seeks to entice more high-spending holidaymakers to visit Britain. Bicester’s retail village, in Oxfordshire, is among the most popular UK destinations for Chinese tourists.
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Article: Daily Mail