Posted On 2016/09/23 By In Business, News, China Outbound, Destinations With 184 Views

Countries want Chinese Tourists – Just not all in the same Place

Chinese outbound travelers continue to be the main driving force for the growth of international tourism, but the concentration of visitors in a limited number of places is increasingly creating a number of problems. Consequently, the “dispersion” of tourists has emerged as one of the most hotly debated topics in the tourism industry.

Thirty-two million Chinese, exactly half of the 64 million borders crossings from Mainland China, traveled beyond Greater China (Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan) in the first half of 2016. Many ended up in tourism mega cities like Sydney, Tokyo, Bangkok, New York or Paris, as well as also discovering attractions such as Yellowstone National Park and overrunning Angkor Wat.

The China National Tourism Administration recently published a slightly lower figure of only 59 million outbound Chinese travelers for the same period, using a renewed calculation method, but this, however, does not help to solve the issue of there being too many visitors in too few places.

Too many visitors in too few places

Tourism dispersal—the long-term sustainable management of visitor flows across a country to reduce overcrowding and the deterioration of visitor experiences in the most popular locations—is an important subject, particularly in countries where Chinese visitors are the No. 1 or No. 2 tourism source market. Projections of more than 5% annual growth of Asian air traffic in the next 20 years point to the urgent need to get visitors to move from gateway cities to other destinations in the countries visited.

In Australia, China is expected to become the main tourism source market this year. And according to a study by Tourism Research Australia, 78% of all Chinese arrivals stayed in the main destinations, even though they were not bound to any itinerary, as they were not traveling with an organized group. For the same market segment of visitors from the United States, this was true for only 55% of arrivals and for visitors from the United Kingdom the figure was only 44%.

Younger visitors, who were less likely to come to visit friends and relatives (VFR), traveled a bit more to lesser-visited destinations within Australia compared to Chinese arrivals aged 50 and over. First-time visitors covered more destinations than repeat visitors, corresponding to the fact that travelers not coming for their first time were more likely to be visiting Australia for VFR reasons.

In the U.S. the picture isn’t that different. Almost 50% of all Chinese visitors stay in California, and many of them are VFR arrivals. Nevada and New York share between them the biggest percentages of the other arrivals. Despite their many attractions, popular tourist destinations like Florida or the Mississippi region still face many challenges in establishing their specific brand image to get a bigger part of the pie.

China is not immune either: Approximately 4.5 billion domestic tourism trips are being made each year, with Beijing alone having received close to 300 million domestic visitors this year so far. This tends to result in strained transportation infrastructure and damaged heritage sights—including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City—as well as a crowding-out effect on international visitors.

What countries are doing

This is forcing countries to tackle tourist concentration head on.

Japan’s recent revival as a major destination for its neighbors from Mainland China, South Korea and Taiwan, has already led to the Japanese government introducing measures designed to encourage visitors to journey beyond the main cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Starting next year, smaller airports will receive government subsidies enabling them to reduce, or even waive, landing fees for three years for newly inaugurated international flights and for flights to and from airports administered by the national or local governments.

Countries in Oceania are already actively promoting dispersion strategies for the Chinese source market. The New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment—which also handles tourism—is employing a number of measures to help encourage dispersal via the development of tourism products across the country by helping communities and regions to realize their tourism potential.

In addition to more straightforward measures, such as the enhancement and extension of cycle trails, the ministry has taken a regional development approach to public conservation land and local communities and is prioritizing the investment in the public-private Tourism Growth Partnership program for initiatives located beyond traditional centers.

Dispersion without prior organization, however, can also have negative results. Thailand, which in the first half of 2016 alone saw about five million Chinese arrivals, stopped the flow of Chinese driving RVs through Laos to northern Thailand after a spike in road accidents and waste management problems involving Chinese drivers.

Still, dispersion will become a necessity, with Chinese outbound tourists offering the best chances of success. Most destinations still have the chance to create interest among Chinese visitors, who are less likely to have already fixed ideas about what to do and when to go to the many beautiful and interesting places on our planet.


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Sources:

Article: Forbes / Image: Jakob Montrasio

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Daniel

Spanning a career of over 25 years in hospitality, and non-profit organizations, Daniel has a proven track record in training and development of people across the spectrum. His expertise in human resources and as President / CEO of a nationwide non-profit gave him a strong foundation in cultural diversity and conflict resolution. Honored as one of the most influential executives under 40 in 2003, Daniel meshes his background in HR training and hospitality management by leading BMG’s Global Ready China Seminars.

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