Behavior of Chinese Tourists

9 September 2016

Over the past decade China has been, and still is, by far the fastest-growing tourism source market in the world and the Chinese market is one of the tourism sector’s major growth opportunities. An essential first step to ensure destinations and companies develop and distribute products that fully meet the Chinese market is to comprehend the behaviour and mind-set of Chinese outbound travellers. Due to rapid development, rising disposable incomes and relaxation of restrictions on foreign travel, the volume of international trips by Chinese travellers has grown from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012 (Cripps, 2013).

Expenditure by Chinese tourists abroad has also increased almost eightfold since 2000. Boosted by an appreciating Chinese currency, Chinese travellers spent a record US$ 102 billion in international tourism in 2012, a 40% jump from 2011 when it amounted to US$ 73 billion (UNWTO, 2013). With sustained growth, China has become the largest spender in international tourism globally in 2012. In 2005 China ranked seventh in international tourism expenditure, and has since successively overtaken Italy, Japan, France and the United Kingdom.

Behavior of Chinese Tourists Essay Example

With the 2012 surge, China leaped to first place, surpassing both top spender Germany and second largest spender United States). According to UNTWO by 2015, over 100 million Chinese will travel aboard, a bench that was originally forecasted for 2020. Businesses and tourism destination have to not only accommodate for the ever growing number of Chinese tourist, but accommodate them in a way that makes the Chinese guests feel welcome and comfortable. Chinese tourists perceive that westerners see them as class people, even when they spend a lot of money.

Business and destination now more than ever before need to accommodate Chinese tourists. Making improvements in areas like service and better understanding Chinese expectations will help us accelerate this growth. This remarkable growth, largely due to the rise of a Chinese middle class with disposable income, has required the travel industry, from hotels to restaurants to shopping centers, to adapt to this inflowing of Chinese tourists. ”The hotel industry has perhaps been the most observant.

Marriott has stationed 20 sales representatives in China and teaches employees in the U. S. to speak basic Mandarin phrases like hello and thank you. The Marriott Marquis in New York City has even replaced room numbers on the 44th floor with names because the number four is considered bad luck in many Asian cultures” (Sanburn, 2013). A common complaint found amongst Chinese tourists is the concern of the lack of hot drinking water and Chinese tea. Because Chinese hotels traditionally provide a large set of “standard amenities” (e. . , toothpaste and toothbrushes, combs, shampoo and lotion, slippers, shoe mitts, even disposable razors and shaving cream), Chinese tourists, particularly those first-time overseas travellers, generally expect foreign hotels to do the same thing. This expectation, if unfulfilled, could create a bit frustration as some Chinese tourists do not pack such items when traveling, and they might not be able to communicate with the hotel requesting these items due to language barrier (Xiang, Chengting, Rich, Sheryl, & Liangyan, 2011).

One way hotels can better serve Chinese tourists is equip rooms with tea kettles, slippers, translated restaurant menus and welcome brochures, on-site translation services and comfort food such as congee (rice porridge) and noodles to make their stay more welcoming. China is the second biggest source of visitors for New Zealand and accounted for 8 percent of visitors in November 2012. The Chinese overtook UK tourists for the first time that month, but are still far fewer than the 45 percent of visitors that came from Australia.

New Zealand went to lengths to produce a tourism video with young Chinese travellers renting a campervan to explore state parks independently (Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, 2012). But businesses shouldn’t reach out to this rising surge of Chinese tourists unless they are properly prepared. Generally, Chinese tourists speak less English than European visitors do, requiring translation services. And they expect to be able to bargain for better deals on the accommodations. For instance, Chinese tourists greatly appreciate employees who express a high level of professionalism, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude.

Hotels that want to attract Chinese tourists need to train employees to provide this style of service. In addition, having readily available bilingual staff and employees who are sensitive to East/West cultural differences will greatly enhance these travellers’ experience. Furthermore, Western hotels interested in hosting Chinese tourists should be prepared to provide toiletries as well as a method of making hot water for tea in the guest room. Perhaps the most challenging amenity that Chinese tourists crave is food that suits the Chinese palate and diet.

Chinese tourists want to taste local cuisine but also want to find familiar foods. A Chinese diet includes a wide variety of vegetables, little or no milk, and more salty rather than sweet foods. Western restaurants offering local dishes that fit this description may have a better chance of winning Chinese tourists. Finally, for multinational corporations, a new challenge (Sanburn, 2013). A ”proper meal” in Chinese culture consists of appropriate amount of fan (rice and other starch foods such as noodles) and ts’ai (vegetable and meat dishes).

In other words, fan is considered the ”core” ingredient of a proper meal, whereas ts’ai are regarded as ”peripheral” (Chang, Kivela, & Mak, 2010). Although many of the Chinese tourists are eager to try local food, many find it impossible to eat local food at every meal. This indicates that they perceived the intake of local food as a touristic experience, yet it did not match up to the criteria of a proper meal in their dietary habits. Tasting local food could satisfy the experiential needs of the tourists, but might not be enough to satisfy their physiological needs (Chang, Kivela, & Mak, 2010).

Chinese tourist found that western food was food was too sweet, unhealthy (few vegetables and fruits, high calories), with too many uncooked or cold dishes (including ice water), and too much fried food (Xiang, Chengting, Rich, Sheryl, & Liangyan, 2011). Because of their core eating behaviour, some tourists found it more difficult experiencing the new eating experiences and revealed a persistent preference towards partaking of Chinese food. Interestingly, even for some tourists who were enthusiastic to sample local food, Chinese food was found to be dominant as the ”core” preference (Chang, Kivela, & Mak, 2010).

Figure 1: A Model of Chinese Tourists’ Food Preference Source: (Chang, Kivela, & Mak, 2010) History and tradition are important to Chinese travellers, making context and clarification important to tour itinerary selection and scheduling. Further, most Chinese tourists still highly appreciate traditional values such as family duty and caring for the children. Thus, when they travel overseas, purchasing gifts for seniors, children, and friends is almost an obligation. Shopping is a big draw for Chinese visitors, who are attracted by the wide selection of consumer products and low prices.

Currently Chinese visitors spend an average of $3300 when they visit New Zealand. However, this average rate of expenditure is forecast to fall almost continually over the coming years to only around $1500 in 2020, due to the changes in the visitor mix (Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, 2012). Chinese visitors do not stay for very long when they visit New Zealand. Although in the year ending September 2012, the average length of stay was 16. 6 days (and is forecast to decline), half of Chinese visitors actually only spend four days in the country.

Categories of tourism spending which are closely linked to the number of days spent in the country can be particularly impacted by shorter stays, such as spending on accommodation and food and beverage. (Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, 2012) The Chinese tourists purchased a very large variety of merchandise, including antique watches, diamonds, DVDs and a special T-shirt signed by NBA players. Branded running shoes, leather shoes, and vitamins were also frequently purchased products. Other products included Polo T-shirts, handbags, health products and souvenirs (Xu & McGehee, 2011).

There are several major motivations for Chinese tourist shopping, these include gift purchases, especially item that are unique U. S. brands, quality, competitive pricing. First, most tourists purchase gifts for friends and relatives. Purchasing gifts from a trip for friends or relatives is a norm in Eastern cultures (Xu & McGehee, 2011). Since not every Chinese has a chance to go travel aboard, presenting a gift and souvenir from to relatives, friends or colleagues may be very welcomed and can strengthen social and family ties.

Another motivation for shopping is the perceived high quality of U. S products. The Chinese tourists believed that the quality of products in the U. S. was guaranteed and there should not be fake brands due to sound legal systems (Xu & McGehee, 2011). The comparatively lower prices, especially for well-branded products were another motivation. Taking advantage of price differences has been found to be one important motivation for cross-border shopping. The Chinese tourists compared prices in China and the U. S. and found that many items cost at least 10 per cent less in the U.

S (Cripps, 2013). Chinese tourists felt that they were not being misled or pushed to buy by the tour guides or the sales assistants, as usually happened in some tourist destinations. But the language barrier was is the most problematic obstacle to their shopping. A lack of Chinese signs in the shopping mall along with limited English language skills resulted in a reliance on the tour guides when communicating with sales assistants. This extra step was sometimes problematic for the tourists. In terms of customer service, evaluations were mixed.

Some informants complained that there were not enough sales assistants in some stores and that the assistants were not very hospitable to the tourists (Xu & McGehee, 2011). Limited payment methods were another area negatively impacting the tourists’ shopping experiences. The informants reported that they had to pay by cash or by credit card. This was problematic as Chinese tourists are only able to carry a limited amount of cash out of Chinese customs. Additionally, some tourists did not have a U. S. Dollar credit card, or the credit limit was not high enough to cover the expenses.

Even with a dual- currency credit card, cross-border transactions were not as smooth as those domestically (Sanburn, 2013). All the informants thought the U. S. stores should have Chinese speaking sales assistants if they want tourists to spend more money. They also recommended that the shopping malls and stores obtain Chinese signs for directions and departments. One informant talked about the shopping assistance efforts of the Hong Kong tourism administration. Another suggested the hiring of Chinese students as sales assistants, as has been done in Japan. Xu & McGehee, 2011) Conclusion Chinese tourists are quickly growing into a larger and more sophisticated group of consumers. When traveling overseas, they expect quality services, respect, and better cultural understanding of their wants and needs. Satisfying and meeting these expectations will require a combination of insight into culturally specific behaviours and understanding of broader cultural beliefs. Thus, successful Western marketers should be well prepared to accommodate the basic needs of the Chinese tourists visiting a destination for the first time.

A better understanding of cultural norms and values will provide better satisfaction and service quality, resulting in a rewarding experience for visitors and effective marketing for destinations and businesses. Bibliography Chang, R. , Kivela, J. , & Mak, A. (2010). FOOD PREFERENCES OF CHINESE. Annals of Tourism Research, 989-1011. Cripps, K. (2013, April 12). chinese travelers the world’s biggest spenders. Retrieved May 5, 2013, from CNN: http://edition. cnn. com/2013/04/05/travel/china-tourists-spend/index. html Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. 2012, December 12). Why is the China market so important for NZ? Retrieved May 8, 2013, from Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment: http://www. med. govt. nz/sectors-industries/tourism/tourism-research-data/regional-tourism-indicators/rti-country-analysis/why-is-the-china-market-so-important-for-nz Sanburn, J. (2013, April 9). How the U. S. Travel Industry Is Adapting to a Growing Wave of Chinese Tourists. Retrieved May 6, 2013, from Time: http://business. time. com/2013/04/09/how-the-u-s-travel-industry-is-adapting-to-a-growing-wave-of-chinese-tourists/ UNWTO. 2013, April 04). China- the new number one tourism soucre market in the world. Retrieved May 7, 2013, from World Tourism Organization: http://media. unwto. org/en/press-release/2013-04-04/china-new-number-one-tourism-source-market-world Xiang, L. , Chengting, L. , Rich, H. , Sheryl, K. , & Liangyan, W. (2011). When east meets west: An exploratory study on Chinese outbound tourists’. Tourism Management, 741-749. Xu, Y. , & McGehee, N. (2011). Shopping behavior of Chinese tourists visiting the United States:. Tourism Management, 427-430.

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