Chi­nese fam­ily trav­el­ers take to mu­se­ums

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By LIA ZHU in San Fran­cisco li­azhu@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

In­stead of the Sun­set Strip and Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard, Liu Zichen, a Chi­nese stu­dent at a Los An­ge­les col­lege, took his mother and aunt, both first-time vis­i­tors to the US, to the Getty Cen­ter, where an ex­hi­bi­tion on Dun­huang art is on dis­play.

“I think it’s more mean­ing­ful to spend a day at the mu­seum, learn­ing the sto­ries be­hind those works of art and meet­ing peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cul­tures,” said Liu, a stu­dent at New York Film Academy’s Los An­ge­les cam­pus.

Hol­ly­wood, theme parks and shop­ping malls still top the lists for many Chi­nese tourists in Los An­ge­les. But more fam­ily trav­el­ers are tak­ing to ac­tiv­i­ties that of­fer a blend of ed­u­ca­tional and cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences.

“Chi­nese tourists give the world an impression of tak­ing pho­tos and only buy­ing things on their over­seas tours,” said Liu’s mother. “We will go shop­ping, too, but learn­ing dif­fer­ent cul­tures and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing new ways of life are more im­por­tant. That’s the rea­son why we take this trip.”

The mother said the fam­ily had taken an­nual va­ca­tions over­seas for many years, and it was those tours that helped change their mind­set about tourism.

“We want to learn about the real life of Amer­i­can peo­ple and how they think of China,” she said. At the Getty Cen­ter, she was mostly im­pressed by the Amer­i­can au­di­ence’s in­ter­est in the Dun­huang art. “They were so at­ten­tive. Some of them even took notes,” she said.

At the Asian Art Mu­seum in San Fran­cisco, China has over­taken Europe as the largest source of in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors so far this year. The mu­seum has launched a “China Ready” pro­gram, in­clud­ing Chi­nese-lan­guage guide­books and a do­cent ser­vice, in re­sponse to the ris­ing de­mand.

Fam­ily trav­el­ers are seek­ing not only new but also more im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ences. There is an in­creas­ing trend for more cul­tural or ed­u­ca­tional travel ex­pe­ri­ences that can be shared with friends and fam­ily, ac­cord­ing to the fam­ily tar­geted work plan of Visit Cal­i­for­nia, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes Cal­i­for­nia on be­half of the state’s tourism in­dus­try.

While the pri­mary mar­ket for fam­ily travel is do­mes­tic, Cal­i­for­nia has seen the eco­nomic ben­e­fits of the in­creas­ing num­ber of in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors with chil­dren.

Among those, Chi­nese fam­i­lies make up 25 per­cent, well ahead of Canada and Mex­ico, ac­cord­ing to the work plan.

LIA ZHU / CHINA DAILY

Liu Zichen (left), a Chi­nese stu­dent at a Los An­ge­les col­lege, and his mother (right) and aunt visit the Getty Cen­ter in Los An­ge­les on their sum­mer va­ca­tion.

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