Archive for ‘Tourism’

29/09/2016

Chinese Tourists Encouraged to Behave Ahead of Mass Vacation – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Urinating on the streets of Hong Kong? Hurling hot water at flight attendants? Stealing wood from Lovers’ Beach in Thailand?

These are the kind of mainland-Chinese tourist antics that the motherland is looking to stub out ahead of the week-long national holiday known as Golden Week, when throngs of citizens travel both domestically and abroad.

To help them do so, the China National Tourism Administration and one of China’s dominant online travel firms, Ctrip.com International, are teaming up to find model tourists to promote travel behavior worthy of emulation—and national recognition.

“Civility of Chinese tourists is an important indicator of a country’s soft power and one of the major ways to export a country’s influence,” the tourism administration’s Vice Chairman Wang Xiaofeng said at an event announcing the campaign.

The two organizations, along with state-run newspaper China Daily, are asking the Chinese public to provide examples of what they think is model traveler decorum. Ctrip will give gifts to exemplary participants, such as free travel products and company souvenirs, said Ctrip senior director of investment relations Zhou Shiwei.

“The campaign is about changing the perception of Chinese travelers,” he said. “We definitely want Chinese travelers to be well-received abroad.

”Examples include pictures of Chinese soccer fans who picked up trash in Seoul, even after the Chinese men’s team lost to South Korea earlier this month, or photos of Chinese tourists patiently waiting in line.Ctrip says the campaign is aiming to publish a compilation of guidelines and pictures suggested by Chinese netizens during Golden Week. Chinese tourists can upload pictures via Chinese social-media network Weibo, and to the China Daily website. It is unclear how the photos will be verified.More than 600 million Chinese are expected to travel abroad in the next five years, as China’s middle class grows and visa restrictions ease in some countries welcoming Chinese spending. Last year, about 120 million Chinese traveled overseas—10% more than in 2014, according to the national tourism administration.

Domestically, tourism generated about $620 billion last year, with more than four billion trips taken.

The campaign, entitled “Good Chinese Tourists,” is an addition to other recent efforts the government has put forth to curb travel misbehavior. Last year, it unveiled new measures that allow authorities to track the bad habits of wayward tourists for up to two years.

The tourism administration also recently published a guidebook on civilized tourism, in which it urges tourists to refrain from spitting and littering—common practices back home—and to take photographs only where permitted. “Do not chase, beat or feed animals,” it adds. “Do not be greedy with complimentary items.

”For traveling abroad, the guide includes recommendations that cutting in line is “shameful wherever you are” and suggests that tourists “not leave footprints on toilet seats.”

Source: Chinese Tourists Encouraged to Behave Ahead of Mass Vacation – China Real Time Report – WSJ

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03/09/2016

China tourism: Crossing the new glass bridges – BBC News

Tourism sites in the central Henan and Hunan provinces have been constructing vertigo-inducing skywalks in a bid to attract visitors.

And it seems to have worked, attracting thrill-seeking tourists and locals, all wanting a chance to experience a bird’s eye view of the Chinese countryside.

One of them is student Li Shu Zhen, 19, from Hangzhou city.

She shared with the BBC her experience of climbing the Brave Man’s Bridge in Pingjiang county, Hunan province.

“You look down and feel a sense of fear, but you quickly recover from that and enjoy the scenery,” she said.

“It was beautiful, almost as if one was walking on air.”

Yoga has been one of the stranger activities performed on the Brave Man’s Bridge

An eating challenge was held on this bridge in Yueyang country – although you might lose your appetite if you look downT

he fully transparent bridge, which measures 300m long (984ft) and 180m high, first opened to the public in September.

It is one of the more popular bridges, with events – like mass yoga displays – often being staged on it.

Local officials say that glass panels were designed to withstand high winds and earthquakes, as well as the “weight of 800 visitors”.

Glass bridge fever has also spread to neighbouring Taiwan, where a 179m-high bridge opened in Nantou county.

Construction has already begun on a second glass bridge above Zhangjiajie valley in Hunan province

‘Even if the glass breaks’

Construction on the latest bridge, touted as the world’s longest glass-bottomed walkway, is also nearing completion.

Standing at 300m high and stretching 375m, the bridge will hang above the Zhangjiajie grand canyon, also in Hunan province.

Gearing up for the bridge’s 2016 opening, officials have even enlisted the public’s help in naming it.

One of its engineers, Yang Guohong, from state-owned China Railway Major Bridge Reconnaissance and Design Institute, said contractors had taken extra safety precautions.

“No matter how the tourists jump on the bridge, it will still be fine,” he told the People’s Daily newspaper.

“The steel structures beneath it are incredibly dense, so even if the glass breaks, visitors won’t fall through.”

Would you dare to walk across?

But architects who spoke to the BBC said that such glass bridges were often “primarily a novelty, built as visitor attractions rather than commuter bridges”.

Architect Keith Brownlie, who was involved in a glass bridge for The London Science Museum, said that the appeal was “thrill”.

“It is the relationship between emotionally driven fear and the logical understanding of safety,” he said. “These structures tread the boundary between those two contrasting senses and people like to challenge their rational mind in relation to their irrational fear.

“Others felt that the bridges symbolised extravagance, especially in China.

“In architecture, glass has always been associated with luxury and often as a display of wealth,” said bridge designer Ezra Groskin.

“Glass floor panels, used in the creation of invisible architecture, are not a new phenomenon. However its use is often restricted due to cost and practicality.”

A terrifying incident last October sent visitors fleeing in fear after a section of a glass bridge in Yuntai mountain, Henan province, cracked

Shattered nerves

But how safe are China’s glass bridges?

An incident in October sent terrified visitors fleeing in fear after part of a glass skywalk in Henan province’s Yuntai Mountain Geological Park cracked, despite only being open for two weeks.

Park officials closed the walkway immediately, later saying there was “no reason for worry” and that the cracks had “no impact on safety”.

But experts questioned the use of glass in an exposed mountain environment.

“While a glass structure designed by a competent engineer and manufactured by a specialist contractor has no greater risk in terms of structural integrity than any other building material, glass can be prone to localised shocks,” noted architect Adam Holicska.

“The use of it in a mountain environment where there is a potential risk of rock impact can make it a questionable choice.

“Architect Keith Brownlie added that the cleaning of glass panels and lack of slip resistance should also be considered in such an environment.”One issue with glass decks is the problem of grip,” he said. “Glass is slippery and so anti-slip properties must be provided,”

The glass-bottomed Brave Man’s Bridge in Hunan province connects two mountains

“Please, no more such bridges,” commented a user on China’s popular micro-blogging site Weibo. “Judging from this incident, it is only a matter of time before more serious accidents and deaths occur.

“But glass bridge enthusiasts remain undeterred.

“I still would not hesitate to visit other glass bridges soon,” Ms Li admitted.

Other netizens on the site also expressed similar opinions.

“I am confident that officials will step up additional measures after that happened,” said one Weibo user.

“Thankfully deaths were avoided but one bad incident should not put one off from conquering such a spectacular bridge.”

Another compared it to other bridges of the world: “If Sydney’s Harbour Bridge experienced a crack, I doubt government officials would close it down. So we should not let such an episode affect our opinions about our unique Chinese structures.”

Source: China tourism: Crossing the new glass bridges – BBC News

04/08/2016

Rude Chinese banned from going on holiday | The Times & The Sunday Times

“Uncivilised” Chinese tourists who commit such crimes against etiquette as asking foreigners for selfies, throwing nut shells around or defacing historical sites may find themselves stuck at home because their names are on a travellers’ blacklist.

Authorities in China have been cracking down hard on individuals who sully the country’s name abroad by acting rudely or violently, and the national tourism administration introduced a blacklist for the worst offenders last year.

A draft regulation released this week will, if passed, allow government agencies and tour companies to share blacklists and bar trouble-makers from future trips.

As well as travel companies, government organisations such as customs control, quarantine and border protection bodies would potentially be able to access the blacklist and take measures against those on it.

So far the blacklist contains only 19 names. The administration said that behaviour that could lead to a tourist being blacklisted included “damaging public facilities or historical relics, ignoring social customs at tourism destinations and becoming involved with gambling or prostitution”.

The regulation draft, which is in its public comment phase, stated: “Punishments can be imposed by travel agencies or other related agencies or organisations based on the record.

”Some analysts questioned how effective implementation of the rule could be. Liu Simin, of the China Society for Futures Studies research group, said: “If tourism authorities want to restrict blacklisted tourists from travelling overseas, they can do this only through travel agencies. If travellers plan their own trips and skip the agencies, they’re out of reach.

”The introduction of the blacklist came after President Xi told Chinese tourists in 2014 to clean up their act when abroad to help to dispel negative stereotypes about them.

Talking in a light-hearted fashion, he said: “Do not litter water bottles everywhere. Do not damage coral reefs. Eat less instant noodles and more local seafood.

”The year before the president’s comments, Chinese tourists spent more than £14.5 billion on holidays abroad — more than any other country.

Badly behaved Chinese tourists have continued to make headlines since the introduction of the blacklist.

Last week a Chinese woman was arrested for common assault after throwing orange juice at a flight attendant on a flight from Dubai to Hong Kong. She is understood to have been angry because meals for her children had not been prepared by airline staff in advance.

Source: Rude Chinese banned from going on holiday | World | The Times & The Sunday Times

16/06/2016

Disney’s China fairytale begins with $5.5 billion park opening | Reuters

Walt Disney Co has opened the gates to its first theme park in China, prompting a rush from thousands of gathered Mickey Mouse enthusiasts to be the first to storm Treasure Cove, ride the Roaring Rapids or visit Disney’s tallest castle.

Disney’s largest overseas investment at $5.5 billion, the park is a bet on China’s middle class and booming domestic tourism. The U.S. firm hopes it will offset an otherwise lackluster international theme park business, better known for cash-burning sites such as Euro Disney.

“This is one of the proudest and most exciting moments in the history of the Walt Disney Company,” chief executive Bob Iger said at the official ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, where he was flanked by Chinese government officials.

Iger and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang read out letters of support from Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping.

Not everything has gone quite to plan though.The opening gala – meant to be a bonanza of fireworks, live music and dance – was rained off on Wednesday night, while at Disney’s park in Orlando, Florida, a young boy was grabbed by an alligator and killed.

Disney, though, sees China as its biggest opportunity since Walt Disney bought land in Florida in the 1960s for what is now Walt Disney World – the world’s most-visited theme park.

With that in mind, Main Street has been replaced by Mickey Avenue to reduce the feel of Americana while attractions include the Chinese-style Wandering Moon tea house, a Chinese Zodiac-themed garden and a Tarzan musical featuring Chinese acrobats.

Disney estimates 330 million people within a three-hour radius of Shanghai will be able to afford to come to the park: that includes Zhao Qiong, 36, who was one of the first visitors inside the park on Thursday with her 4-year-old daughter.”Since she was young, my little girl has always loved Disney princesses, so I wanted to bring her to the park to fulfill her dream,” she told Reuters.

Source: Disney’s China fairytale begins with $5.5 billion park opening | Reuters

26/03/2015

Hainan Airlines to buy 30 Boeing 787-9 jets, worth $7.7 billion by list price | Reuters

Hainan Airlines Co Ltd (600221.SS), China’s fourth-largest carrier, said on Wednesday it plans to order 30 Boeing Co (BA.N) B787-9 jets as it seeks to expand international routes to tap into growing demand for overseas travel from China.

The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, April 24, 2013.  REUTERS/Jim Young

The order would be the biggest this year for the jet, worth $7.7 billion (5 billion pounds) according to list prices. It would also boost the aircraft maker’s 787 programme backlog to 855 planes.

China’s airline passengers are increasingly looking beyond the mainland for travel opportunities. In 2014, Chinese travellers made more than 100 million trips overseas in a year for the first time, up sharply from 8.4 million in 1998, official data show.

Hainan Airlines added two long-haul routes to North America and Western Europe last year and plans major international expansion this year, Cai Zhiquan, a brand manager told Reuters. On Thursday. it reported net profit jumped 20 percent in 2014 to 2.59 billion yuan ($417 million).

“We’ll be flying from major hubs in China to second- or third-tier cities overseas,” said Cai. “At the same time, we’ll also open up more routes from inland Chinese cities to major hub cities elsewhere.”

via Hainan Airlines to buy 30 Boeing 787-9 jets, worth $7.7 billion by list price | Reuters.

06/03/2015

China’s Fosun buys 5 percent stake in British travel group Thomas Cook | Reuters

China’s Fosun International (0656.HK) has bought a 5 percent stake in Thomas Cook Group (TCG.L), deepening its foray into Europe’s tourism sector and potentially helping the British company to compete with travel leviathan TUI Group (TUIT.L)

Fosun paid 92 million pounds ($140 million) for the Thomas Cook stake and will seek to double its holding in the world’s oldest travel group to 10 percent, it said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday.

News of the investment, which the companies said came after two years of talks, sent Thomas Cook shares soaring by as much as 22 percent in morning trade. At 6.20 a.m. ET the shares were up 18.8 percent at 143 pence.

Thomas Cook said that it expects the tie-up to enhance earnings in the financial year to Sept. 30, 2016, assuming plans under the partnership are implemented in 2015.

One of the plans is to explore collaboration opportunities with Club Mediterranee (CMIP.PA), the French holiday company Fosun bought last month, where it is seeking to turn around a business that is struggling in Europe and move more aggressively into fast-growing markets such as China.

via China’s Fosun buys 5 percent stake in British travel group Thomas Cook | Reuters.

04/03/2015

Harrods Hopes Prince William Hoopla in China Will Bring a Boost – China Real Time Report – WSJ

For every five pounds spent by a Chinese tourist in the United Kingdom, just over one quid is spent at upscale department store Harrods.

No wonder, then, that company managing director Michael Ward is in Shanghai this week, hoping the hoopla around Britain’s Prince William’s four-day visit to China will bring even more Chinese shoppers through Harrods’ doors.

“It’s a hugely important part of our business,” Mr. Ward told China Real Time Tuesday. He said such tourists would become increasingly important as outbound tourism from China takes off.

Hong Kong brokerage firm CLSA expects the total number of Chinese outbound travelers to hit 200 million annually in 2020—that’s around double last year’s figures.

Mr. Ward declined to share specific figures for Chinese tourists, but he said by nationality, they top the league of store visitors in terms of spending.

By contrast, Americans barely scraped into the top ten—far behind shoppers from countries such as Nigeria and Thailand, he said.

While Chinese tourists may top the list of spenders at high-end Harrods, a report issued last year by British bank Barclays saBCS -2.61%id Chinese tourists ranked tenth in terms of tourist spending in the U.K, spending around £550 million in 2013 (around $850 million),. Barclay’s forecasted that by 2017, Chinese tourists would have moved up to fifth place with annual total spending in the U.K. in excess of £1 billion.

Still, the chilling effects of China’s current economic woes are being felt in faraway Harrods of London. “This year we’ve seen a much slower takeup,” said Mr. Ward.

via Harrods Hopes Prince William Hoopla in China Will Bring a Boost – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

25/02/2015

Tourist Spots Across Asia Learn to Say ‘Nihao’ for Lunar New Year – China Real Time Report – WSJ

“Nihao, huzhao dai le ma?”

At a number of the Tokyo stores of Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo over the last week, the words coming out of cashiers’ lips are not Japanese, but Chinese.

The occasion was the Lunar New Year, a celebration in China that is supposed to be all about family and spending time at home. But increasingly, Chinese tourists have been flocking overseas – mostly to Asian destinations – to spend their yuan in a migration of an annual rite that has been dubbed China’s Golden Week.

Bolstered by a strong currency and greater wealth, more Chinese than ever before are traveling abroad for their not-so-Chinese New Year compared to those staying home, with South Korea, Thailand and Japan leading the top picks this year, according to the China National Tourism Administration.

In the case of Japan, staff at big shopping destinations like Uniqlo said they brought over Chinese-speaking staff to deal with Chinese tourists during the period. The question in Chinese that the cashier was asking China Real Time translates as: “Hello, do you have your passport?” Some Japanese stores offer tax-free shopping for tourists – lopping a generous 8% off the tab – if they can produce a foreign passport. Uniqlo didn’t immediately respond to a message for comment.

For this week at least, destinations like Japan have rolled out the welcome mat for visitors who raid foreign stores for everything from luxury handbags to sophisticated toiletry. Staff in even the most traditional of Japanese restaurants have learned to say “xiexie!” – Chinese for thank you.

Some 5.2 million Chinese are estimated to be spending 140 billion yuan ($22.4 billion) this year, up from 4.73 million last year, the Chinese tourism administration says. While nearly 40% went to the top three destinations, the balance of the mainlanders also made beelines for Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

via Tourist Spots Across Asia Learn to Say ‘Nihao’ for Lunar New Year – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

20/02/2015

Don’t Wear Pig T-Shirts in Dubai: Xinhua’s Official Online Guide for Chinese Tourists – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s numerous fans of the novel “Cloud Atlas” will be familiar with author David Mitchell’s adage: There ain’t no journey what don’t you change you some.

As many in the world’s most populous country pack their bags this week and leave on jet planes for horizons far, authorities here are hoping that Chinese travelers, too, will transform – specifically by becoming more mannerly international travelers.

After a series of embarrassing recent incidents, China’s state-run media Xinhua recently did its part to help citizens discern good behavior from bad by publishing an online guide to overseas etiquette. “Who wants to be labeled uncivilized by foreigners?” asks the Xinhua article, published a few days ahead of this year’s Spring Festival Holiday.

To avoid that, the piece offers advice to travelers, including items tailored to specific destinations.

Doing Dubai? Don’t talk about pigs. And don’t wear items of clothing that have images of pigs on them. (Thanks for the fashion tip Xinhua.)

On Safari in Kenya? Please, get permission before posing and saying “cheese!” next to Masai warriors. And keep your hands off that ivory.

The same applies to coral: It belongs in Fiji and not on auntie’s shelf in Fujian province.

Vacationers from the People’s Republic have acquired a reputation for being unruly at times, and have lately made global headlines by attacking flight attendants, fighting in airplane aisles and opening emergency doors in non-emergency situations. Recent incidents have led China to consider establishing an air-passenger blacklist that would ban travelers who continually misbehave.

A relative newcomer to overseas vacations, China has been quick to catch the travel bug. According to the China National Tourism Administration, more than 100 million Chinese ventured abroad in the eleven month period ending November last year. By contrast, in 1998 that number was just 8.4 million. In a recent report, Hong Kong brokerage CLSA said it expects the total number of Chinese outbound travelers to hit 200 million in 2020.

via Don’t Wear Pig T-Shirts in Dubai: Xinhua’s Official Online Guide for Chinese Tourists – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

06/02/2015

Record spending spurs race by governments for Chinese tourist dollars | Reuters

Embassies are re-writing visa rules and governments are hammering out aviation pacts as record spending by Chinese travelers sets off a race around the world for a share of the Chinese tourist dollar.

Chinese spending on international travel in 2014 rose to $165 billion from $129 billion in 2013, the biggest percentage increase in two years, according to data released by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange last week.

Chinese disposable incomes have been steadily rising and would-be travelers got an additional boost in the past year from favorable foreign exchange rates, with the yuan appreciating more than 10 percent against the yen and the Australian dollar. The gains versus the euro have been even greater, at more than 14 percent, and the yuan set a record against the single currency last month.

Governments near and far are keen to get their countries onto Chinese itineraries. In November, the United States signed a landmark deal with China extending one-year visas issued to Chinese travelers to up to a decade. This year Malaysia and Indonesia are planning visa exemptions, while Thailand is considering exempting visa fees, which were briefly suspended last year. Australia in January signed an agreement with China allowing more passenger flights from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with immediate effect.

Air traffic data for China’s big airlines confirms a rising preference for overseas travel in the world’s most populous nation. Air China’s international routes recorded 14.6 percent growth in 2014 in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), a gauge of traffic, versus 6.1 percent for domestic routes, Reuters calculations show. China Southern Airlines‘ international RPK growth was 20.2 percent versus 10.0 percent domestically. China Eastern Airlines posted international RPK growth of 4.4 percent.

via Record spending spurs race by governments for Chinese tourist dollars | Reuters.

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