Preparing to welcome tourists, Chinese-style

Tourism operators the whole world over are gearing up for an influx of Chinese tourists over the next decade and they are looking at some pretty novel ways of trying to make them feel at home.

Hotels in Europe and North America are apparently currently developing Mandarin check-in services for Chinese tourists - which are actually situated half a world away.

"A check-in machine could link them with someone who does speak the language but they could be in Shanghai or anywhere else," Asiawide Hospitality Solutions president and CEO Kevin Murphy told the "China Daily."

Murphy is set to talk at the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show ( http://www.ihmrs.com), to be held in New York from November 13-16, and he will be focusing on the rise of Chinese tourism internationally.

"The hotel industry is starting to think of a range of options right now,'' he said.

The motivation behind the extra effort is pretty obvious.

Travelling Chinese spent US$43.7 billion (31 billion euro) on tourism in 2009 - a rise of 21 per cent year on year. And the United Nation's World Tourism Organisation says it is only a matter of time before they spend more than visitors from the traditional international travel leaders Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Outbound trips by Chinese are meanwhile expected to jump from an estimated 52 million this year to 100 million in 2020.

And while that pales into insignificance when you consider there will be an estimated three billion inbound trips in China in 2020 - according to the country's National Bureau of Statistics - the are still significant enough to alter the way tourism operators the world over do their business.

Colliers International ( http://www.colliersinternational.com), which looks after tourism real estate investment in Asia, says operators have to be more specific when it comes to dealing with the needs of Chinese tourists.

"They like shopping, theme parks and, of course, eating,'' said their regional director, David Faulkner.

MS

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