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One of the places tourists can visit on the Buddhist Train (www.buddhisttrain.com)

China’s outbound tourist numbers are growing at an exponential rate with travellers flying all over the world for shopping, safaris and health treatments.  But when it comes to India, only about 102,000 Chinese people travel there – less than 0.21 per cent of the total number going abroad.  This is a tiny share of the massive $40 billion that is spent overseas each year by Chinese tourists.

 
India Tourism are getting spiritual to help them succeed in the future by launching a campaign which targets China’s fast-growing Buddhist population and asking them to ‘visit India and reconnect with your faith’.

 
The ‘Buddhist Circuit Train‘ stops along several pilgrimage sites in northern India and has been open since 2007.  Over the course of a week it takes travellers to a number of cities related to Buddha’s life from New Delhi to Nepal, where Buddha was born.  India Tourism and the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (ITRCT) are promoting this to Chinese Buddhists as a way to reconnect with their faith in comfort, and hope that it will help the dwindling tourist numbers. Since there are up to 200 million followers of Buddhism in China, if even a small percentage of this number travel to India, it would boost tourist figures dramatically.

 
The campaign launched in China on Monday with Rakesh Tandon, managing director of the IRCTC addressing a number of Chinese tour operators and travel agents.  Mr Tandon assured the audience trains would be “safe and fully air-conditioned”, hoping to put potential travellers minds at ease about the idea of going to India – two of the biggest concerns are lack of safety and the climate.  “India is blessed to have a lot of pilgrimage sites connected with Buddha’s life,” and India Tourism hope that they will be blessed with a bigger chunk of Chinese travellers following this campaign.

 
Original article at: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2650921.ece 



Japan is actively promoting its tourism in China, with impressive success. This post outlines Japan’s efforts and results, as described in the Japan Times.

Promotional Efforts

Visas

In July 2010, the Japanese government lowered the income bracket requirement for granting visas to individual tourists from China. In July 2009, Japan had begun granting tourist visas to high-income individual Chinese.

Promotion of Hokkaido

A tip of the hat in thanks from Japan goes to the hugely successful 2008 Chinese movie, “If You Are the One,” set largely in picturesque Hokkaido, a northern island of Japan.

In September 2010, Hokkaido held a three-day event at the Japanese Pavilion in the Shanghai World Expo. In August 2010, the hot-springs resort area of Atami held a promotional week at the Expo.

Chinese Credit Cards

As of the end of April 2010, about 17,300 stores and facilities across Japan accept the Chinese UnionPay credit card. In addtion to businesses in major cities, more establishments in Hokkaido and Kyushu are making the move to accept the card.

Well Worth the Effort

The number of Chinese tourists to Hokkaido in 2008 was 47,400 (an increase of 75 percent over the previous year), and officials saw a similar trend in 2009. In comparison, visitors to Hokkaido from Taiwan and South Korea in 2008 were 227,600 (down 18 percent) and 139,100 (17.8 percent) respectively.

The Japan Times reported in 2010, that each Chinese tourist on average spent at least 30% more than other tourists.

With Chinese customers’ penchant for items made in Japan, purchasing products like US$75 and US$800 pantyhose and US$450 to US$900 basic beauty products, some are ringing up purchases of US$15,000.

Average purchases with the Chinese UnionPay credit card are US$45,500, three times more than Japanese average credit card purchases. A VenusFort general manager reports the average Chinese credit card purchase to be twice the typical amount a Japanese customer spends.

Looking Ahead

Future proposals for Japan to cater to Chinese visitors include installing Chinese language signs on streets and public transportation and hiring interpreters. Japanese businesses are seeking to bridge the culture gap, including table manners, food preferences, and how to use hot springs.

Source: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100617f2.html

It used to be the Russians who splurged on tax-free shopping for authentic and luxury brands while traveling to European countries. Since last summer, not only have Chinese tourists emerged as the top tax-free shoppers in Europe, their average spending for each transaction doubled that of the Russians.

On average, outbound travelers from the Chinese mainland spent 744 euros on tax-free shopping transactions last year, doubling the Russian’s 368 euros. Tourists from the United States spent 554 euros and the Japanese 521 euros, according to Global Blue.

For the complete story, see http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20110224-265105.html

 

China’s GQ magazine (a luxury lifestyle magazine, launched in China in 2009) is running a story about Chinese travel trends, entitled “The Chinese’ Travel Revolution.” This article is remarkable because it shows a strong new preference among Chinese travelers to be more adventurous and (for the ones who can afford it) to experience something outstanding and not just group tourism.

It is also interesting that these stories are not published in travel magazines anymore but in lifestyle magazines. Travel is definitely becoming more and more of a hot topic in China. It has been that way in the West already for a long time but because of restrictions the Chinese have only just picked up on it. And now they are hungry for it.

Indeed, this article features anything but the ordinary. Highlights include horseback riding on Hoysgol Lake, a magic lake that freezes overnight, and whose sound of cracking ice guarantees good luck for the entire year to come; MiGE-29 fighter airplane stunts experienced from inside the craft; watching Peru’s 900 types of wild birds or Sichuan’s two or three; hunting and fishing with the indigenous tribes of the Amazon rainforest or engaging in witchcraft with the remote tribes of Togo, Benin, and Burka Faso; experiencing the world’s purest sunshine and seawater in Greenland or the purest air on the Drangmehhu River (with the most rapid water, incidentally) in Bhutan; hiking up to Machu Picchu or pedalling all over Italy on a pasta tour. Then, after the Chinese traveler finishes fishing from a helicopter over waterfalls not far from the Nile, and coming nose to nose with polar bears and foxes in the North Pole, he or she can save some lives on the Global Charter Flight Tour.

It’s a fact: Chinese perception towards traveling is changing radically. Travel is no longer for the weak of heart, and the smart players in the tourism industry are taking notice.

Michelin, the French tire maker also known for its famous restaurant guides, is slated to launch a Taiwan tourism guide early this year.

The Green Guide, expected to be available for sale within next six months, uses the three-star system to rate tourist attractions other than restaurants from “worth a trip” to “worth a detour,” and “interesting.”

The Green Guide is often seen as the precursor for the Red Guide, leading to the possibility that Taiwan will be following Japan, Macau and Hong Kong to become one of the few Asian regions with their own Michelin Red Guide.

Michelin published its first guide in 1900 to promote tire sales by providing assistance to drivers in the maintenance of their vehicles, locating good lodging and eat well while traveling in France.

Magnifique!thumbs up from the michelin man

source: http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2011/01/18/288092/Michelin-to.htm



China outbound tweeds

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Michael Kaltenhauser

Founder and director of Astronaut, a marketing agency based in Beijing which is specialized on promoting destinations to Chinese outbound tourists

Laura Hine

Online Communications Assistant at Astronaut