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Home News The chase for generous Chinese tourists

The chase for generous Chinese tourists

Published on 28/05/2013

The Chinese investment company Fosun and the French AXA Private Equity Capital made an offer to purchase Club Mediterranée yesterday. This offer reflects the increasingly important role of the Chinese tourist market for the French operator of holiday resorts and the general increase in Chinese tourism. The number of Chinese international tourists is estimated to increase to 200 million by 2020, which would mean that one in four tourists in Europe will be Chinese. The continent will therefore need to prepare for the influx if it plans to benefit from this phenomenal growth. The 152 000 Chinese tourists who reserved overnight stays in Flanders last year constitute only a fraction of the total tourist number of 24.7 million, but nevertheless reflects a growth of 16% for the region. Chinese tourists normally spend one or two nights in the country and seem to prefer the cities. With one third of the visitors on business, Brussels as capital of Europe profits as a drawcard. The Flemish tourist organization Toerisme Vlaanderen boasts a well-established China strategy, strengthened by a delegation to the country and promotion drives at holiday trade fairs. It is however also up to the tourist sector as such to prepare for this influx of visitors from the East. Says Stef Gits of Toerisme Vlaanderen: “The Historium Bruges has a Chinese audio guide. So too the Atomium. The shopping centre Maasmechelen village has Chinese brochures with information on tax-free shopping and, most importantly, it’s the only shopping venue in Belgium with China Union Pay, a system which accepts payment with Chinese credit cards. Brussels Airport also launched a Chinese version of its app recently.” But there’s still a lot to be done to explore all the potential and cities like Paris are way ahead of Brussels and Bruges to receive Chinese tourists. The Chinese love spending money abroad. Last year alone they spent 79 billion euros across the globe.