For Chi­nese, Canada still a spe­cial place

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHENG XIN in Beijing zhengxin@chi­

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.

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