A roundup of recent news from the Chinese inbound and outbound tourism markets, from China’s plan to woo more Indian tourists to recent Danish overtures and Hawaii’s enduring draw among Chinese travelers:
China, Hong Kong Courting More Indian Tourists
The Indo-Asian News Service reports this week that the tourism departments of Macau, Hong Kong and Guangdong province in China have come together to woo Indian travellers, with each promising to increase vegetarian and Jain food options for Indian travelers. Speaking at a conference organized by the Macau Government Tourist Office, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and GDPTA in Delhi, in advance of installments in Mumbai and Chennai, Mei Qijie of the Tourism Administration of Guangdong Province (GDPTA) said, “India is a huge market for us. Lots of tourists go to Hong Kong and Macau from [India]. Now they can also go to Guangdong. Every destination has its own strength. We are complimenting each other.”
Guangdong’s delegation said that they’re working to co-organize promotional tourism activities in three cities — Guangzhou, Zhongshan and Shenzhen — for Indian tourists. As for Hong Kong, in addition to promoting more and better culinary options, Patrick Kwok of the Hong Kong Tourism Board said that hotels would also get involved with the efforts to bring in more Indian travelers.
Hawaii Forecasts Chinese Tourism Surge, But Moving Too Slowly?
Though dwarfed by the 600,000 Japanese travelers who head to Hawaii annually, in the first half of the year some 50,000 Chinese tourists visited the islands in the first half of this year, a 43 percent year-on-year increase. The Chinese tourist surge that many Hawaiian tourist destinations, hotels and retailers had hoped for has yet to fully materialize, but the Chinese visitors who do make it over have proven to be some of the most free-spending of any tourist segment, a factor that has spurred Hawaiian tourism authorities to increase their efforts in China. Last year, Chinese tourists spent an average US$370 per day in Hawaii, a figure that could rise to $400 next year — “more than three times what a Canadian visitor would spend [in Hawaii], according to Hawaii Tourism Asia managing director Michael Merner.
As the AP notes, Merner plans to target China’s wealthy high-end traveler, rather than the country’s young globetrotters or older tour group members:
“We’re taking literally the very, very top of that market – those who can afford to fly long-haul, Hawaii only, and spend significantly while they’re here in the islands.”
As well as lifting visitor expenditure, Mr Merner said the agency aimed to double the number of Chinese visitors to the neighbour islands, with currently only about 15 percent of tourists visiting the Big Island and 13 percent going to Maui.
As Jing Daily noted last summer, Hawaiian optimism obscures the many obstacles that remain for the state to bring in more Chinese traffic:
Though Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie and tourism officials have said they hope to eventually welcome daily direct flights from China, strict visa requirements stand in the way of significantly increasing Chinese tourism. According to the governor, he plans to bring up the idea of waiving or otherwise loosening visa restrictions when government officials from the US and China are in Hawaii for the upcoming APEC Summit. As Abercrombie told a local Honolulu news station this week, ”If we can work something in that area of visa waivers in general or perhaps for Hawaii as a test case we’re gonna pursue that.”
We’ve heard similar things from Hawaiian governors before, so the question remains whether Abercrombie’s efforts will actually bear fruit this time around. We know this is a story that Hawaii’s retailers are watching closely.
Chinese Travelers To Denmark To Rise “20 To 30%” Annually
On the opposite end of the weather spectrum, Denmark hopes to attract more Chinese travelers in the years ahead, with Ole Sohn, Danish minister for business and growth, saying this week that he expects the number of Denmark-bound Chinese tourists to increase 20-30 percent annually for the next several years. Part of a tourism delegation currently traveling in China on a week-long promotional tour, Sohn said that Chinese tourists spent a total of 83,000 nights in Denmark last year, an 18 percent increase year-on-year.
Sohn added that a new direct flight recently launched between Shanghai and Copenhagen, as well as his country’s natural beauty and Copenhagen’s famous “bikeability,” helped drive much of this year’s growth. However, the vast majority of China-to-Denmark travel remains strictly business. As Flemming Bruhn, director of the Danish Official Tourism Organization, said this week, Denmark is a regular destination for Chinese trade visits and “MICE” (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) tourism. Bruhn said that “several thousand Chinese technical groups” visit Denmark each year, mostly studying farming, the dairy industry, green-tech, city planning and environmental protection.