Title October 2010

From the Editor
Is the Caribbean the new frontier for wealthy Chinese tourists?

Dear Readers,

A very important business event will take place in the Barbados On October 8-12: the Caribbean Tourism Organization Leadership Conference will invite experts from all over the world to exchange ideas about the future of tourism in the Caribbean region. Well known travel and tourism personalities such as Willie Walsh, Chairman of British Airways, Jacqueline Johnson, CEO of Marry Caribbean and Pierre Gervois, CEO of China Elite Focus will talk about the core issue: How to convince wealthy Chinese tourists to choose the Caribbean?

The new Chinese tourist will cover this event and we will have the pleasure to publish in our next issue a complete and exclusive coverage.

Enjoy this newsletter!

Paul Martin

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Barbados targets rich Chinese tourists

BarbadosTourism has been identified as a priority area for co-operation between China and the Caribbean, but the region may have to wait a while before seeing tourists arriving en masse from that Asian market. Nonetheless, with China's population standing at 1.6 billion people, Barbados is still expecting a boost to its tourist sector by promoting itself to Chinese travellers as a desirable destination.

Deputy Director-General of the Department of American and Oceanic Affairs in China's Ministry of Commerce, Xu Yingzhen, recently suggested that it may take some time for Chinese tourism to the Caribbean to really take off. She was at the time responding to a question from the Barbados Advocate on the status of promised tourism co-operation between China and CARICOM countries at the Ministry's Beijing offices. Xu's statement was confirmed by figures from the China National Tourism Administration, which ranked the top ten destinations for Chinese tourists as Hong Kong, Macao, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Russia, Singapore, Australia, the US and Malaysia.

However, according to a Barbados Tourism Authority official, this does not necessarily mean that Barbados will have to wait on a more even distribution of wealth in China before it sees an increase in arrivals from that Asian country. Bernard Phillips, National Co-ordinator of the local planning committee for the Barbados World Expo exhibit, clarified that Barbados' strategy is to target China's more well-off travellers. His comments came three days after Xu's press conference in an interview with this newspaper on the opening day of the World Expo in Shanghai.

He further pointed out that even the smallest percentage of the massive Chinese population would be a boost to the Barbadian tourism sector. He indicated that though Barbados may seem far away from China, direct connections through major cities such as London and New York make it quite accessible to the affluent Chinese traveller. Furthermore, with the US being a popular destination for the Chinese, he suggested promoting Barbados as an additional stop, inviting tourists to come down to the island for a few days as part of their vacation in the West. Referring to the popularity of cruises among Chinese travellers, he also mentioned marketing the option of home porting in Barbados.
Indeed, Xu Yingzhen had acknowledged that there was some measure of tourism travel from China to the Caribbean and assured that the region's markets were still being explored. She also expressed confidence that as personal income increases, there will be growth in the number of Chinese setting their sights on Caribbean countries as a tourist destination.

In the meantime, the groundwork is being laid to boost Chinese tourist arrivals to Barbados. Xu stressed that tourism co-operation was a top priority in China-CARICOM dialogue, recalling that all Caribbean countries that have established diplomatic relations with China have been listed as approved tourism destinations for Chinese citizens.

Barbados does in fact enjoy Approved Destination Status, which means that Barbadian tour companies can promote and market Barbados as a tourism destination to Chinese tour operators, who in turn can organise and advertise tours to the island.
In 2005 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the National Tourism Administration of the People's Republic of China and the Ministry of Tourism of Barbados on the Facilitation of Group Travel by Chinese Tourists to Barbados.
Meanwhile, at the second China-CARICOM Trade and Economic Co-operation Forum held in Xiamen, China in 2007, the then Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi pledged that they would be looking to implement tourism agreements to encourage more Chinese citizens to visit Caribbean countries.

According to Pierre Gervois, CEO of China Elite Focus, who will be a speaker at the Caribbean Tourism Organization Leadership Strategy Conference, October 8-12 2010 in Barbados "The Caribbean has a huge opportunity with wealthy Chinese tourists. Luxury hotels, excellent shopping opportunities as well as wealth management services, everything is perfect for the new generation of rich Chinese tourists"

Mr Gervois added "The Wedding industry has also a goldmine with Chinese couples. It's time now to attract them in the various Caribbean States. The well known website www.marrycaribbean.com has already a Chinese version and it will help to achieve this goal"

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"Nouveau Riche" Chinese flocking to Japan for luxury shopping

Chinese tourists Japan

Much to Japan's delight, the nouveau riche Chinese are flocking to Japan in huge numbers, thus lifting the Japanese tourism industry which had not seen such good days in years, if not decades. As one of the priciest vacation spots on the planet, the #2 economy in the world had seen tourism slow down significantly over the last couple of years with the global economic downturn. But now the tides seem to be turning for better.
The Japan National Tourism Organization today announced that the number of foreigners who visited Japan between January-June of 2010 rose 35.8% from a year earlier. In June 2010 alone, the number of tourists rose to 59.7% compared to same time last year.
Chinese visitors account for major part of this new trend. Year 2009 saw a 20% rise in Chinese tourism to Japan, compared to just a couple years ago, in 2007. And the first half of 2010 has already seen an astounding 80% rise in Chinese tourism to Japan compared to 2009.

The Chinese economy is not only growing rapidly but according to Merrill Lynch, China now has the world's fourth largest population of millionaires, after US, Japan & Germany. The Chinese addiction to high end designer brands, especially Japanese brands has thus landed many wealthy upper class Chinese in Japan, with only one goal in mind: SHOPPING.
By all reports, the wealthy Chinese tourists are like raining manna from heaven to the Japanese retailers. Takeshi Araki, a salesman at electronics retailer Yodobashi Camera Co. Ltd. in Tokyo's Akihabara electronics district recently told the AP, "Chinese are the saviors for us. I've never seen any foreign tourists spend as much as Chinese".
The VOA (Voice of America) reported in an article published July 8: "It is tough to walk through Tokyo's glitzy Ginza shopping district without running into Chinese tourists. Many spend heavily at luxury department stores with brand-name purses in one hand, shopping bags in the other. The Japan Tourism Agency says each Chinese visitor spends more than $1,100 on average - more than visitors from any other country. Masahide Katsumata, who heads the tourism agency, says shopping is the number one attraction for Chinese tourists. Stops at famous stores and electronics stores are a must for every tour.

Katsumata says the goal is to attract nearly 2 million Chinese tourists this year. Three years from now, the agency hopes to double that number. By 2016, he hopes to attract 6 million Chinese tourists a year. To reach that goal, the Japanese government is stepping up advertising in China, promoting the country in travel magazines and on TV.
It also is requiring major hotel chains and airport staff to learn basic Mandarin and Cantonese. Signs at tourist attractions and train stations will soon be translated to Chinese, in addition to English. And more stores will begin accepting Chinese debit cards to make shopping easier for visitors looking to buy. Next year, Katsumata says Japanese leaders plan to ease a law that requires tour guides to pass a rigorous language test. That will help tour agencies recruit Chinese speaking guides, as they struggle to keep up with demand.
Retailers say they are noticing a difference. Ma Yao Yuen works at Takeya, a popular discount store in the Ueno neighborhood. Ma says sales from Chinese tourists have more than doubled at his store this year alone. "

According to Sunny Wang, Vice-President of the prestigious Shanghai Travelers' Club " Our members love Japan because it's close to China and some of them have a one-day luxury shopping in Tokyo just to buy the latest Chanel handbag"

Tokyo has responded kindly to this favorable trend. As of July 1, Japan has eased visa requirements for residents of mainland China, in order to attract more tourists. However the new visa changes could potentially backfire, as the VOA article (linked above) warns: "While Chinese tourists spend more than any other visitors, the new visas are expected to attract more families and middle-class visitors. Economists and tourism experts say they may not be as eager to spend on luxuries such as expensive watches and couture handbags, and will spend less per person."

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At Shanghai Expo, Turkey courts Chinese tourists
with Turkish Ice Cream

The d�ner spit is from the Xingjian region, where the Uigur Turks live. The meat comes from Mongolia. The oil is a mixture of two brands of butter. The tomato paste, for the sauce, is an imported brand since Chinese do not consume it.
When Ambassador Sencar �zsoy, the commissioner general of the Turkish pavilion at Shanghai EXPO 2010, failed to convince Turkey's prominent İskender brands to come sell this Turkish specialty at the expo, his team rolled up their sleeves to produce Iskender themselves. The success of their product was beyond all expectations; so much so that they had to request additional gas for the kitchen in the pavilion to meet the increasing demand.
"We are breaking the taboos of Chinese tastes," said �zsoy. "They said Chinese don't eat sweets. But 2.5 tons of baklava have been consumed within four months." Seyidoğlu, a Turkish brand, has been providing the Turkish sweet at no charge. "We are grateful to tTurkey Expohem. They are doing it just for the promotion of Turkey," he said. As the third largest non-commercial global event in terms of economic and cultural impact after the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games, during the last decade countries have started using the world expositions more widely and more strongly as a platform to promote their national images and tourism through their pavilions.

The theme of the Turkish Pavilion was inspired by one of the first known settlements in the world, �atalh�y�k, which is in Central Anatolia.
"We are trying to give an idea of Turkey to 7 million people," said Ambassador Şensoy, who knows no limit in creativity to attract visitors to the pavilion. As the traditional janissary band was expected to perform in Shanghai by mid-October, Şensoy was in touch with his Austrian counterpart to organize a march of the janissary band from the Turkish pavilion to the Austrian pavilion nearby to symbolize the siege of Vienna in the 18th century by Ottoman armies. The band will play Beethoven's Turkish March, as well as Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio. The Austrian pavilion was in touch with the Austrian Consulate in Shanghai to find a female candidate that will be abducted by the band.

"The Chinese tourism market is big enough to change the faith of a country," said Eren Kurt, the operation and commercial manager of the Turkish Pavilion. A deal following lengthy negotiations in 2000 on the passage of a huge aircraft carrier purchased by China from Ukraine through the Bosphorus had included a promise from China to send more tourists to Turkey. Yet, the expectation of receiving millions of Chinese proved to be a disappointment, as the number of Chinese tourists coming to Turkey is limited to 90,000. According to Chinese official estimates, the number of Chinese tourists who go abroad is expected to reach 53 million annually soon. When Turkish President Abdullah G�l visited China last June, he asked his counterparts to send more Chinese tourists to Turkey. The answer he got was, "You have to do more to promote Turkey." Since first allowing groups of its citizens to travel abroad to Western countries in 1999, the Chinese market has become a focus of tourist destinations around the world wanting to attract visitors.

In this respect, the Turkish Pavilion certainly plays the role of a tourism agency. "Those who would visit popular pavilions like Saudi Arabia's or Germany's often don't come out feeling like they've visited the country. Yet I am pretty sure most Chinese visitors who come out of the Turkish pavilion will want to go to Turkey to see it," said Noyan Rona, a representative of Garanti Bank who has been living in China for the past 28 years.
Wu Rui-Ping, a bank clerk from Shenzhen is one of them. "I knew a little bit about Turkey. But I was curious to learn more. I would like to go to Turkey as soon as possible," she said as she skimmed a brochure about Turkey over a Turkish coffee at the Istanbul Caf� in the pavilion.

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In This Issue
Barbados targets rich Chinese
Nouveau Riche Chinese in Japan
Turkish Ice Cream and Chinese tourists

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The new Chinese tourist is a professional monthly e-newsletter send to tourism executives worldwide, in more than 60 countries. Each month, you will find articles about how tourism organisations (Hotels, T.O., Tourism boards, Convention & Visitors Bureau...) manage to seduce more Chinese affluent tourists to come to their location.
Texts can be reproduced with mention of the source.