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As the US Visa discussion continues (described in an earlier post), more experts are chipping in their own takes on potential benefits of eased rules, sizing up the volume and impact of the Chinese tourists’ colossal spending.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Travel Association urged the government to overhaul its visa system, saying it serves as a virtual “keep out” sign.

Chinese travelers are among the world’s biggest spenders. snapping up Louis Vuitton LVMH bags and jewelry at Tiffany & Co in the world capitals they visit.

They are set to overtake their Japanese counterparts as the second-largest luxury spender behind the United States within a few years.

“Quite frankly, the Chinese tourist is today the dominant influence in the gateway cities,” Polo Ralph Lauren Chief Operating Officer Roger Farah said on a call with Wall Street analysts on Wednesday.

“Our sales at duty free are mindboggling,” said Bernd Fritz, chief executive of the perfume company Coty.

source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/26/us-luxury-summit-visas-idUSTRE74P6RO20110526

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The impact on the travel industry – and therefore travel retail – from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami and nuclear crisis continues to worsen.

International Air Transport Association (IATA), Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani commented: “Japan is an important link in global air transport. The US$62.5 billion Japanese aviation market represents 6.5% of worldwide scheduled traffic and 10% of the industry’s revenues

Read the full article from the Moodie Report

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.

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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