Chinese Travelers on the Rise
Boosted by fewer restrictions on foreign travel and an appreciating currency, travel from China to the U.S. is growing at a rapid pace.
The International Trade Administration recently projected that up to 7.3 million Chinese citizens will have traveled to the United States by 2021, and according to China Business Review, 26 percent of those travelers come in groups larger than five. That’s good domestic news, as Chinese travelers spend more than any other nationality on travel—nearly $129 billion in 2013, up 26 percent from 2012. To ensure the United States remains an attractive destination, the U.S. government has indefinitely extended short-term Chinese tourist and business visas from 1 year to 10.
Daniel Meesak, head of PR and marketing for the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, says that timeshare resorts can attract this market by catering to their interests. These could include simple amenities, such as offering Chinese television programs, as well as educating resort staff about Chinese culture and training them to be fluent in simple words or phrases in Mandarin. Chinese luxury travelers in particular are seeking adventure-based trips in distant and diverse locations, according to a report by the Hurun Research Institute, and Meesak says these travelers try to fit as many destinations as possible into their itineraries.
While resorts near popular landmarks may have an advantage, remote properties with diverse activities can also stand out. “There’s more potential for Chinese customers to stay at resorts near attractions and national parks as long as they offer a wide variety of activities and experiences,” Meesak says. “Beautiful surroundings alone don’t cut it.” By understanding the needs of Chinese travelers, and supplementing enticing regional attractions with a robust roster of onsite activities, resorts can differentiate themselves for this growing source market.
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