Western Countries Relax Visa Policy for Chinese Tourists

Chinese economic growth is by 30 percent, 2012, making it possible for more Chinese people to travel to other countries. Chinese tourism is already up 30 percent in 2012 alone. It is expected that the world will see the population of Chinese tourists reach 200 million by 2020. Given this large expansion, many countries are counting on these visitors to boost their struggling economies. Many tourist destinations, hotels and airports are hiring Mandarin speaking staff, and companies are specifically focusing on business strategies that will welcome and encourage Chinese tourists to visit.
The number of Chinese tourists in the United States alone grew by 30 percent in 2012. Much of this growth was the direct result in changes to the visa process, which now allows Chinese visitors to expedite their visas when entering the United States. Typical American tourism areas such as New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles are seeing a very large influx of Chinese visitors where there were previously none. To address this growing group of tourists, many venues, including Universal Studios, is working to hire more employees that speak Mandarin to ensure they are able to accommodate these individuals.

Chinese tourists are now the second largest group visiting Australia and New Zealand each year, and both countries are working to take advantage of this opportunity. New Zealand has released a tourism video featuring a Chinese family visiting their state parks. Western Australia is making similar efforts, investing in a 4 million dollar advertising campaign to promote Chinese tourism in this area. Australia is also increasing the presence of Chinese-speaking staff in areas where these individuals are known to visit and beginning to accept Chinese UnionPay credit cards. They hope to quadruple the number of Chinese visitors to Australia by 2020.

The United Kingdom is also seeing a record number of Chinese visitors, as many as 149,000 last year. Famed department store Harrods has added 70 staff members who speak Mandarin and 100 China Union Pay terminals for their convenience. Unfortunately, the country is not yet prepared to accommodate Chinese travelers, causing an estimated 1.5 billion pound loss due to restrictions on travel for these individuals. Currently, Chinese tourists must purchase a separate visa from the rest of the European Union, lowering the amount that these tourists are willing to spend once they arrive in the country.

With similar changes occurring worldwide, most governments are determining the appropriate reaction to this trend. Given the high amount of disposable income associated with tourism, most countries are determining which attractions would be most appealing to Chinese visitors. Areas associated with finance or luxury-goods companies appear to be particularly popular. Famed 5th Avenue in New York in particular has been working to woo Chinese travelers to their doors. Areas including Turkey that once scoffed at Asian travelers are now including exhibits from Chinese painters in the Ankara’s Cer Modern museum as a means of encouraging visitors. The focus is largely on altering current tourism markets to make them more accommodating and comfortable for Chinese visitors as they become the tourism majority.