Tourists will play a part in na­tional strat­egy

China Daily (Canada) - - E-COMMERCE -

In 2014, over­seas trips by the Chi­nese crossed 100 mil­lion for the first time. Last year, the fig­ure rose to 117 mil­lion and China has be­come the No 1 coun­try of ori­gin for out­bound tourism.

But at the same time, we have to be aware that the over­seas travel is de­fined as in­clud­ing Hong Kong, Ma­cao and Tai­wan re­gions where main­land tourists spend a lot. So the level of out­bound tourism is far lower than in de­vel­oped coun­tries and it is safe to say the mar­ket is still in an early stage of de­vel­op­ment.

Chi­nese tourists’ spend­ing, which has caught a lot of me­dia at­ten­tion, is more or less a re­sult of “tax avoid­ance”, be­cause of the big dif­fer­ence in prices for lux­ury goods in China and over­seas.

It is hard to deny that the rapid growth of Chi­nese out­bound tourism and spend­ing has had a pos­i­tive im­pact on des­ti­na­tion coun­tries and economies. Ac­cord­ing to the US De­part­ment of Com­merce, Chi­nese trav­el­ers spent $24 bil­lion in 2014.

Ac­cord­ing to the Com­merce and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Bureau of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion, in 2012, in­di­vid­ual trav­el­ers from the main­land spent the equiv­a­lent of 1.3 per­cent of the lo­cal gross do­mes­tic pro­duc­tion, cre­at­ing more than 110,000 jobs, or 3.1 per­cent of over­all em­ploy­ment. It is es­ti­mated that main­land tourists have boosted em­ploy­ment by 100,000 in Tai­wan.

At the same time, out­bound tourism has also had a pos­i­tive ef­fect on the na­tional strat­egy. Tourism is a key com­po­nent of the coun­try’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive that em­pha­sizes cul­tural un­der­stand­ing and also plays a part in en­ter­prises go­ing global.

A sur­vey con­ducted by China and Ja­pan in 2015 showed that peo­ple in both coun­tries con­sider tourism has en­hanced and im­proved bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tion among peo­ple.

In the near fu­ture, with the deep­en­ing un­cer­tain­ties on global eco­nomic growth and con­tin­ual eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in China com­bined with a sta­ble yuan ex­change rate, the de­vel­op­ment of China’s out­bound tourism will have a more fa­vor­able en­vi­ron­ment and will play a key role in the coun­try’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Ac­cord­ing to a forecast by the Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion, in the five years to 2020, Chi­nese will make 150 mil­lion trips and spend $200 bil­lion in coun­tries re­lated to the Belt and Road.

Eas­ier and more fre­quent out­bound tourism will en­cour­age more con­tact and in­ter­ac­tion be­tween Chi­nese trav­el­ers and the world.

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