The Chinese Still Prefer Spain
Countries like Spain and their retail and luxury industries should take advantage of the impulse of Asian countries tourists.
China is having a difficult year with a slowing economy deeper than expected, a market bubble that burst in spite of government support and the explosion in the industrial area of Tianjin which killed more than a hundred people and again highlight the very real dangers of corruption. The growing number of trips abroad of citizens of mainland China, however, shows no signs of slowing. The official figure of 62 million Chinese travel during the first six months of 2015 representing a growth of 13%.
Whether tourists are traveling the world and the biggest spenders. Each year, over one hundred million Chinese out of their country and are left worldwide about 90 billion euros, according to figures calculated by the World Tourism Organization. A major injection of money that Spain, third world tourism power, should take to improve its economy.
Just 300,000 of the 107 million tourists, according to official Chinese figures, traveled outside mainland China in 2014 did to Spain, a figure that represented an increase of 20% over the previous year. Many of them also calling at Spain as the final part of an itinerary that takes them to other European countries, where they make their first purchases in capitals such as London, Paris or Berlin.
Most of these purchases are luxury items such as handbags Chanel or Louis Vuitton, which, despite its high price in Europe are much cheaper than at home. Giving a good account of China’s trade indefatigable spirit, there are even newly married couples who use their honeymoon abroad to pay for the trip buying two or three bags brand that they sell in their country. In fact, it is common to see them lining up at the point of VAT refund airport after having spent a fortune on shopping during their holidays.
A sector clearly upward.
There are many reasons why it is expected to increase tourism by Chinese citizens despite the economic difficulties began to cross the country. The first and most logical reason is demographic. Although in absolute terms the Chinese tourists are the biggest in the world, in relative terms they are below those of other countries with purchasing prune like, such as BRICS. An example is that the Russians have proportionately 50% more displacement than the Chinese. HSBC published that in 2024 will be 240 million the number of Chinese travelers abroad.
While the rally in Chinese stocks began after the New Year holidays this year from a level of 3200 (February) for the Shanghai Composite. After a climb of nearly 5,200 in June, the index has returned to roughly those 3200 after six months. Many inexperienced investors, have been affected by such stock market fluctuations and have lost their savings, but for most of the members of the top 5% of Chinese society, are rich enough to travel beyond traditional destinations, which are Hong Kong and Macao.
Their ability to spend a few thousand dollars for a trip to places like Bali or Paris has however has not been seriously hampered. The tourism sector is spared time to be affected by the economic slowdown that certainly creating headaches for many luxury companies, notably the automotive industry and high-end watch.
As already demonstrated with the explosion in Tianjin, which is recovering from the massive explosion of 3,000 tons of hazardous chemichal materials, last August. Many people still fear the long-term problems of the contamination of soil and groundwater . Travel abroad and enjoy breathing in a clean and safe environment and has been a strong attraction factor in the past, and will be even more in the future.
On the other hand, many countries have reduced the traditional bureaucracy to grant visas to Chinese citizens. Thus, many travel destinations have relaxed their requirements and no visa is needed or it can be issued upon arrival. For example, in November last year, the US and China agreed to lift visa restrictions for visitors from both countries. Chinese citizens can make multiple trips to North America, Australia, South Korea, many countries of the European Union and other major destinations without the constraints and hassles of the past.
Hong Kong and Macao are losing their appeal for Chinese travelers. In the first six months of this year, its share has fallen to just over half of all journeys. The Chinese interest in visiting more exotic destinations for them, makes fall the traditional views such centers.
Spain must redouble efforts to attract Chinese tourism.
Dimas Gimeno (CEO of El Corte Ingles), in the recent Forum of sightseeing and shopping in Madrid, has been identified as one of the «keys to growth» for its sector in Spain the need to «engage China». «Promote us in China, provide facilities to the Chinese tourism is undoubtedly one of the keys to growth,» he recalled after some data wield the potential of the Asian giant. China, the leading source country of tourism in the world, increased interest in Spain as a holiday destination, although the country received in 2014 only 9% of Chinese travelers who ventured to Europe.
«The Chinese tourism to Spain has grown rapidly in recent years, with a higher percentage than other European countries,» the director of the National Tourist Office of Spain in China, Zhang Zhiyun said. Zhang said that Chinese traveling to Europe -3.5 million in 2014, 10.4% more than in 2013- often choose a route that covers France, Germany and the Netherlands, which in a few days allows a first approach a «continent with a very interesting civilization and highly developed tourism sector».
A handicap for our tourism sector is the lack of interest by the sun and beach tourism to Chinese tourists. This is another reason that calls the need for the Spanish tourism reinvent itself to overcome the drop in visitors from outside the summer season. Chinese travelers are opting for culture and shopping.
Besides demanding the expensive brands, whose establishments are all large cities, it is essential to capture them or have Chinese staff speak Mandarin, as many tourists in this country are not fluent in English. For shops is also vital to adopt dataphones accept the payment system UnionPay, the most widespread among credit card users in China, even over Visa or American Express.
Very superstitious tourists.
As do stores in China, it is recommended that businesses mark their prices finished on eight issues, symbolizing wealth, and avoid the four, which is synonymous with bad luck because it is pronounced similarly to the word death: «Si». Although it seems a minor detail, the Chinese are one of the most superstitious people in the world and are driven by these customs. Following this obsession with fate and numerology, also they love gameling, banned in their country, and are regular customers of casinos and slot machines, where they go beyond.
Very attached to their traditions and a strong nationalistic spirit, the Chinese greatly appreciate that foreigners make the effort to adapt to their customs and recognize the rise of his country as a superpower with its economic growth. Therefore, it is good idea to include in-store signs in Mandarin together with other languages such as English, French or Russian.
Disclosure: The author is not responsible for the views expressed in the article. The text was written freely expressing ideas, without receiving any compensation. The author has no business relationship with any of the companies whose shares are listed in this article.