For Chinese, Canada still a special place
The Chinese tourists’ love affair with Canada shows no signs of cooling off, and the world’s second-largest country is also aiming at the lucrative and ever-increasing gold mine of Chinese outbound travelers to attract more of them in the upcoming year.
As many as 320,046 Chinese visited Canada as of August this year so far, a year-on-year growth rate more than 30 percent, which exceeds all Asian and Latin American countries, according to the Canada Tourism Commission.
More than 350,000 Chinese tourists went to Canada in 2013.
According to a survey conducted by the China Tourism Academy, Canada has been voted in the top five most satisfactory destinations among the Chinese outbound tourists. The ranking is based on the urban image, services of the foreign agencies, local transportation, including coaches, trains, taxis and buses. Chinese-friendly services, including road signs and custom services in the Chinese language, were also taken into account.
While some head to the North American country to explore the winter fun, many go for the slow pace of quiet havens like Prince Edward Island, blessed with varied maritime delights and red sandstone cliffs, as well as amazing Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, said the commission.
The most popular activities among Chinese travelers while in Canada were shopping, sightseeing and visiting friends or relatives, while visits to zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens also surged 59.9%, well above trend growth, it said.
According to mafengwo. com, a popular Chinese crowdsourced website, ever since Canada was granted Approved Destination Status (ADS) by China in June 2010, the number of outbound Chinese tourist heading to Canada keeps a 20 percent growth every year.
China’s largest tourist information sharing website said the number of its users who download the travel guides to Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal have seen a year-on-year 23 percent increase from January to October this year.
It forecasted more than 430,000 Chinese will go to Canada in 2014, a 25 percent growth.
Li Xinjian, a professor of tourism at Beijing International Studies University, said as increasing Chinese travelers have already had several short distance overseas experiences, including destinations like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, many are no longer satisfied with just the neighboring spots.
Some long distance destinations, like Canada, as well as some European destinations, are getting more popular with the Chinese, who have more money to spend and longer vacation periods, he said.
According to a new study from the Reputation Institute, the world’s leading reputation management consultancy, Canada is the top country in the world to visit, live in, study and attend or organize events.
The report is based on the online answers from 26,000 consumers in the G8 countries and focuses on the 55 countries around the world with the highest GDP.
“It’s fantastic that the world holds Canada in such high esteem, which helps make our country such a desirable place to visit,” says Jon Mamela, chief marketing officer of the Canadian Tourism Commission.
“Looking ahead into 2015, we will continue to offer diverse experiences to curious travelers keen to live a life less ordinary by enjoying our incredible nature, dynamic cities, unique culture and local lifestyles.”
Consider Chinese tourists are the biggest spenders on travels overseas and the largest outbound travel market, with the number of outbound Chinese tourists reaching 97.3 million people in 2013, a 20 percent rise over 2012, experts believe the increasing Chinese tourists are in a position to help Canada with its economy.
China has huge tourism potential for Canada and the CTC is committed to succeed in this growing market, said the commission.
The number of outbound Chinese tourists is expected to reach 115 million in 2014, with a year-on-year increase of 17.5 percent, said the China Tourism Academy.
Figures by Canadian Tourism Commission reveal that the international overnight visitors spent 16.4 billion dollars during their trips to Canada in 2013, a 2.5 percent increase over 2012.
Ever since Canada was granted the ADS, allowing the CTC and travel trade to actively market Canada directly to Chinese consumers, the country has undertaken a variety of marketing activities that have increased the awareness of Canada in China, and Chinese visitor numbers to Canada, including consumer market campaigns, e-marketing initiatives and extensive socialmedia activity linked to consumer promotions.
With the granting of ADS, overnight arrivals to Canada gained significant momentum, expanding 22.5% in 2011 and a further 15.5% in 2012 to 273,000 trips, said the commission.
To attract more Chinese to come and visit its ski resorts, Canada has come up with a program introducing tourism resource online that introduces the travel tips.
It has also been hiring increasing numbers of Chinese or Chinese-speaking instructors to accommodate the demand of those Chinese skiers.
“More Chinese people are coming to Canada to ski and we are hiring more Chinese instructors,” said Derek Galpin, the commission’s chief representative in China.
“We are also considering sending Canadian instructors to China to further boost skiing in China.”
The air capacity is also helping fuel growth from China to Canada, said the Canadian Tourism Commission.
Key drivers for growth include lower oil prices and increased air capacity, with most of the new capacity, over 132,000 seats, was added to service China, it said.
According to mafengwo. com, five Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenyang have direct flights with Canadian cities, including Toronto and Vancouver, as of November, with some 67 flights traveling in between every week.