Chinese tourism

With the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami and the ongoing civil war in Libya, often leaves me wondering what am I doing in news. But then again, the feeling of being a part of many defining moments in history is enormous.

Thankfully, at Feature Story News, apart from the international news, we look into other ongoing debates. A story I was producing yesterday for CCTV, investigating whether the British government will relax visa rules for the Chinese tourists to boost the economy. I was lucky to get hold of the tourism industry veteran, Tom Jenkins, Executive Director of the European Tour Operators Association. Talking to him this afternoon, he rightly pointed out many aspects which hinder Chinese tourists from visiting Britain, as a result of which the UK is losing out to other European destinations. He said the form filling process in arduous, and they are expected to do it in English, which is obviously not their first language.

Secondly the costs in comparison to the Schengen visa is much higher, for which they think they don’t even get their money’s value in terms of duration of stay and the places they visit. Also, the Schengen visa gives them an opportunity to travel all across Europe, obviously giving them more of a chance to experience other places like France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands etc. Jenkins said over the years the demography of the type of tourists has changed. Earlier a majority of them would visit Europe for business purposes, unlike approximately 40,000 who come here for holidays now.

What surprised me most, was the fact on how they squirm to pay 20 – 30 GBP per night for a hotel room, but are willing to splurge almost 20,000 – 30000 pounds in top retail stores such as Harrods. Apparently, two things the Chinese love doing, shopping and gambling.

To catch up with the European counterparts and capture the tourism market, Jenkins said, there is no better way than to just look at it from a Chinese point of view and offer them a service that suits their requirements.


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