Lunar New Year
Tourism officials around the world are scrambling to lay out the welcome mat as 100 million Chinese travellers make plans to travel abroad during the Lunar New Year holiday.
More than 100 million Chinese people are expected to travel abroad during the Lunar New Year, which is called Spring Festival in China.
Including Saturday and Sunday, the Chinese will get 7 consecutive days off: 18 through 24 February 2015.
Before you get too envious, however, 2 of the remaining 5 days have to be compensated by working or going to school on a Saturday or a Sunday!
While most Chinese people go home during the festive period to re-unite with their families, a growing of them are taking advantage of the one week break to travel abroad.
Now that Chinese travellers have surpassed the Americans and the Germans as the world's most spendthrift travellers, the travel industry in an increasing number of countries is laying out the welcome mat for this lucrative segment.
Chinese travellers spent an estimated US$140 billion in overseas travel in 2014.
“Last year a number of countries announced a lifting of complex visa regulations, which results in their destinations becoming a great deal more attractive to the Chinese traveller,” says James Huang, Market Development Manager for North Asia at Wego.com.
“Recently Indonesia included China in the 5 nationalities not required to purchase a visa on arrival (official effective date yet to be announced), particularly significant with the increased popularity of Bali with Chinese holidaymakers."
Easing Visa Requirements
India, Singpore, South Korea, Thailand, and the United States are among the growing number of countries easing visa requirements for Chinese travellers in recent times. Other steps – such as food promotions and language classes for tour guides – are also being taken.
“Singapore has the attraction of great shopping and local language, and South Korea has aggressively marketed the ‘Korea Grand Sales’ shopping festival to fall during the Chinese New Year period," James says.
"Along with the Chinese fascination with the country’s local pop culture, South Korea is likely to be the destination of choice this year.”
There are several other steps that countries wanting to attract more Chinese travellers should consider.
“Easy access and designing your destination in a way that resonates directly with the Chinese is the key to attracting more visitors, James says.
"It seems that the global travel industry is taking notice and so far these steps are proving very successful."