Europe wants “quality” Chinese tourists

Europe should be sold as a “collection of experiences”
Europe wants “quality over quantity” in attracting Chinese tourists, inbound tourism chiefs say, as millions of people continue to visit the continent.
But “understanding” will be another key theme that the Europe Travel Commission adopts as it rolls out stronger efforts to improve on Europe’s success as a destination for the Chinese, who are now the continent’s second largest source market after the US.
Pushed by easier visa process and increasing flight connectivity, Chinese numbers to Europe have shot up “like a rocket” in the last five years, said Eduardo Santander, the commission’s executive director, speaking at ITB China, Shanghai.
Last year, China sent about 12 million visitors to Europe, but Santander admits this is still a far cry from Chinese arrivals to Southeast Asia.
“But we want quality over quantity,” Santander emphasised when asked if the non-profit organisation, which has 32 NTO members, had set any arrival goals for China.
“Certain destinations like Venice and Barcelona are already seeing capacity problems, so we want to spread Chinese tourists to second-tier cities in Europe, which have a lot of heritage, shopping, wine and culture,” he said.
Europe-China Tourism Year 2018 has been deemed a high-priority initiative by both the European Commission and the Chinese government to not just attract the Chinese to Europe but to enhance their understanding of Europe.
Understanding will work both ways, Santander said, as training and education will be provided to European operators to better cater to the Chinese, such as providing Mandarin-speaking staff – and realising that there is a new class of Chinese traveller who no longer wants the traditional experiences but wants “to discover the hidden tracks in Europe,” Santander explained.
“We sell Europe as a collection of experiences – the history, wine, gastronomy, music, shopping and so forth,” he added, while experiences at industries like fashion and watchmaking, which are “good magnets” for the Chinese, to buy original products where they are produced.
TTG Asia

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