How Countries Attract Chinese Tourists

Different Strategies of Countries to Attract Chinese Tourists


In 2012, there have been record-breaking 1 billion tourists traveling abroad from all over the world. Among the 1 billion, the number of Chinese tourists part is becoming bigger and bigger every year. The number in 2002 was 16,6 million and in 2012, it has been almost 5 times more, reaching 82 million. It’s estimated that in 2020, they’re estimated to be 200 million. Concerning their expenditures, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) shows that Chinese tourists spent 30% more in 2012 compared to 2011. The exact number was $102 million and they are now in the top position before Germany and the United States.

All the countries are making or executing plans to attract tourists from the crazy market. Different operations have already been made, for example hiring Mandarin-speaking staff in airports, hotels, malls, or retailers. We also see more convenience for Chinese to apply for visas and also a joint marketing agreement with China. Especially for countries in the mud of crisis such as European countries and the United States and Australia. Attracting Chinese tourists is a way for them to find the money.

The situation is a little bit different for countries like Korea, Japan, Singapore, or Hong-Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Indeed, they are neighboring destinations and they have already gained success in China because they adapt themselves to their neighbor. There is also the example of not-so-successful countries such as Pakistan and Kazakhstan.

If you are in the tourism industry and you don’t have a specific strategy for Chinese tourists, then you will only see others taking the cake away.

As mentioned by Sun Tzu in “The Art of war”: Precise knowledge of self and precise knowledge of the threat leads to victory, let’s have a glance at what those countries are doing.






Britain: There have 149 000 Chinese been to Britain in 2012. But because of restrictions that limit the incoming arrivals, it’s estimated that Britain lost 1,5 billion pounds. So the potential is not fully accomplished because of the inconvenient visa for Chinese tourists. “It’s a shame.” said the managing director of the luxury mall Harrod’s in London. The mall already has 70 mandarin-speaking staff and adapted terminals to accept chinese cards.

Cyprus: The small European island wants to attract 100 000 Chinese tourists in 2013. One of its strategies is to open a tour operator in Hong Kong. But they also want to host the contest Miss Asia and also the final episode of a popular Chinese TV show, it could be a perfect example of product placement.

Czech Republic: The stores and hotels in Prague,  started to hire Mandarin or Cantonese speakers, or interpreters who can talk with Chinese tourists. A lot of retailers are now accepting Chinese Bank cards.

Denmark: Over the next few years, the government of Denmark estimates an annual growth of around 20 to 30% concerning the incoming Chinese visitors. We see a growth of 18% concerning the number of nights that Chinese stayed in the country. One of the reasons could be the direct flight between Shanghai and Copenhagen (the capital of Denmark). This country is really popular among Chinese businessmen because it hosts several meetings and conventions every year.

France: France is the first destination for Chinese tourists in Europe. This is thanks to luxury shopping but also fine dining. Another reason not very well-known is that there is a small town where you can find the origins of the Chinese Communist Party. Concerning the norms of visas, Chinese can get access to 25 countries with a single visa because of the Schengen space.

Germany: Like France, Germany is in a good position to receive Chinese tourists because they are part of the Schengen visa scheme. They also adopt the strategy of recruiting Chinese speakers for tour companies and retailers.

Greece: In 2011, there were around 80 000 Chinese tourists in Greece. The country is actually in an economic recovery and has to attract Chinese tourists to boost its economy. Their main strategies are the simplification of the visa procedures, the direct flights between China and Greece, and lowering its VAT for food catering.

.North and South America


Carte ameriques


Canada: There was a stagnation of tourists from Europe and the US in 2012. But there was also the surprise of tourists from Asia and especially China. Indeed, there were 115 200 Chinese traveling to Canada in the first five months, which corresponds to a 22,9% increase. Two other things that also helped were the “approved destination status” given by the Chinese government and the Winter Games in Vancouver. Finally, Canada made advertising in social media channels in Asia and a Chinese version of their tourism website.

Costa Rica: The advantage of Costa Rica is that it’s the second largest trade partner of China in middle America. The main strategies of Costa Rica are to make easier visa regulations, open direct flights between Costa Rica and China and encourage tourism-related businesses to use Chinese languages.

Peru: The country is not very famous at the moment and doesn’t attract many Chinese but they want to change that by easing the visa procedures, participating in travel shows and promoting health tourism.

United States of America: We see in 2012, and increase of 30% concerning the number of arriving Chinese tourists. The most visited cities are the big ones that are to say, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. We can also note that in Los Angeles, in Universal Studios, you can find mandarin-speaking employees.





Australia: British tourists were the first population in terms of tourists in Australia but the Chinese tourists have surpassed them. The main reasons are that Australian businesses are accepting UnionPay credit cards, and they hire a lot of Chinese-speaking staff. They also invest a lot in marketing campaigns to attract Chinese tourists. Their goal is to quadruple the number by 2020.

New Zealand: Concerning the ranking, Chinese tourists are now in second position, only next to Australia. They accounted for 8% of visitors in November 2012. Concerning the campaigns, New Zealand recently made a video about young Chinese travelers who explore the national parks..





Egypt: Last summer, the Egyptian President went to Beijing to find strategies to increase the number of Chinese tourists in Egypt. The number now is 20% which is significant. The main strategies of Egypt to attract tourists from China is to make easier visa procedures and increase the number of direct flights between Egypt and China.

Kenya: The country doesn’t have a large knowledge of how to attract Chinese tourists. But they are making a few things such as hiring Chinese-speaking staff in the hotel or not proving rooms on the 4th floor and giving green tea instead of coffee.

South Africa: Like Canada, South Africa was granted “approved destination status” by the Chinese government. The opening of direct flights between Johannesburg and Beijing also help a lot. Moreover, two new visa application centers were opened in China in 2011. And finally, South African travel made campaigns specifically targeting Chinese people.

Zimbabwe: In 2011, the country welcomed 30 000 Chinese tourists. The goal of Zimbabwe is to welcome 50 000 by 2015. Their strategies are to participate in fairs and make a new visa application system which will be online.


Middle East




Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan has several strategies. First, they want to focus on the 2017 World Expo for three months. Then they want to develop their transportation infrastructure and open direct flights between the two countries. Finally, they want to communicate with Chinese tourism officials about tourism developments and projects in Kazakhstan.

Pakistan: Normally, Chinese travelers in Pakistan are generally businessmen but the country wants to attract leisure tourists. Like other countries, you find in their strategies, the easier visa procedure for Chinese groups, the participation of major tourism shows, and also the creation of a documentary to introduce Pakistan and the Silk Route.

United Arab Emirates: Like France, UAE is known for the luxury and tax-free shopping that Chinese tourists enjoy a lot. They also have Chinese speaking staff in their hotels and malls, and they accept the Chinese credit cards.






India: India is a little bit late concerning luring Chinese tourism. But with the recent success of the movie “Life of Pi”, India wants to offer tour packages in China but also make Chinese-speaking websites available.

Indonesia: After Australia, Chinese tourists are the second biggest source of tourism. Thanks to the increase in Chinese visitors to Bali. The goal of Indonesia for 2013 is to have 600 000 Chinese tourists.

Malaysia: We see an increase in flights from Guangzhou and Shanghai to Kota Kinabalu which is a popular destination near the south China sea.

Nepal: The strategy here concerns collaboration between governments to boost mutual tourism. Indeed, both countries have opened ports and resumed passenger transportation between the capital Kathmandu and also Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

North Korea: Yes, what you see is right, I’m not that bad at English 🙂  Even North Korea wants to attract Chinese tourists. Their main argument is that North Korea is cheaper compared to other international destinations. The country also simplified the visa procedure for Chinese tourists.

Philippines: In the first six months of 2012, there were more than 150 000 tourists who arrived in the Philippines. This is why China is now the fourth largest tourism market in the country. The main destination is Boracay Island. In 2013, the government of tourism of the Philippines wants to attend travel fairs in China but also wants to offer “familiarization tours” for travel agents and media.

Russia: Like Nepal, Russia, and China national tourism agencies have signed a memorandum of understanding on improving investments and cooperation in the tourism sector. In this agreement, each country will host the “Year of Tourism” so there will be the “Year of Russian Tourism” in China and the “Year of Chinese Tourism” in Russia.

Sri Lanka: The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and some Sri Lankan Airlines participated in different travel shows in China. This gives them the opportunity to establish relationships with Chinese travel operators and media organizations. The officials of tourism in the country also want that the government improves the infrastructure of the country to welcome the maximum of tourists.

Thailand: Chinese tourists are now the most tourists which come to Thailand. There are two main reasons. The first one is because of the territorial dispute between Japan and China and the second one is because of the recent movie “Lost in Thailand” which has a huge success in China.

Taiwan: Contrary to other countries, Taiwan wants to reduce the flow of Chinese tourists. So they restricted the number to 4000. They are mainly complaining about the multitude of Chinese travelers which overwhelmed other sightseeing tourists.

Vietnam: The strategy of Vietnam is to introduce shopping tours, promote discount airfare and strengthen the engagement with large travel agencies in China. For now, the number of Chinese tourists is 1,4 million in Vietnam in 2012. They also want to make a program with Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar to facilitate the visa procedure like that Chinese people can travel between the different countries.




  • kayleigh

    Very nice article. Thanks for putting all the useful data together!

    One little suggestion: making LinkedIn share available would boost more professional sharings.

    • Thank you for the suggetions, Kayleigh. In fact, we have tried, but we discover it’s not good for mobile readers.

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