TIP of The ICE­BERG

Chi­nese tourists are de­vel­op­ing more so­phis­ti­cated tastes, and des­ti­na­tions are hav­ing to up their game to pro­vide both fa­mil­iar com­forts and niche ex­pe­ri­ences

NewsChina - - COVER STORY - By Yi Ziyi

Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Antarc­tica Tour Op­er­a­tors, 5,289 Chi­nese trav­el­ers vis­ited Antarc­tica last year, over­tak­ing Aus­tralians to gain the No.2 spot, only out­num­bered by Amer­i­can vis­i­tors. Fif­teen years ago, in 2003, only 37 Chi­nese tourists set foot on the con­ti­nent.

This year will see an even greater num­ber of Chi­nese tourists – in the first three months of 2018 alone, 2,000 Chi­nese tourists vis­ited the great ice­bound con­ti­nent.

From Kenya to Antarc­tica, from Morocco to Mon­tene­gro, now in­dus­try play­ers around the globe are catch­ing up with the idea that Chi­nese tourists are com­ing, whether they are ready or not. The big ques­tion is, are they pre­pared for the de­mands of this new mar­ket?

Lux­ury lovers, high-end shop­pers, selfie ad­dicts, vis­it­ing a new coun­try ev­ery day on whis­tle-stop bus tours – stereo­typ­ing Chi­nese tourists as a ho­mo­ge­neous mass is a dan­ger­ous mis­take. No mat­ter how much des­ti­na­tions wel­come the money, what they re­ally face is a so­phis­ti­cated mar­ket with shift­ing de­mo­graph­ics and seg­mented de­mands.

Chi­nese ski in­struc­tor Xu Zhongx­ing (R) and head of Grindel­wald ski school Christoph Ester­mann walk in Grindel­wald in the Jungfrau re­gion of Switzer­land, Jan­uary 8, 2014. Be­sides watches, choco­late and scenery, now Switzer­land is mar­ket­ing an­other na­tional sym­bol to the Chi­nese – ski­ing. The Alpine coun­try is train­ing eight Chi­nese ski in­struc­tors and plac­ing them in St. Moritz, Davos, Zer­matt, Gs­taad and other re­sorts to teach Chi­nese tourists

Chi­nese divers ex­plore the ocean beauty of Saipan

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