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
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