A Louis Vuitton Bag and a bowl of rice

Wealthy Chinese tourist- China Elite FocusIn 2012, 83 million mainland Chinese spent $102 billion abroad — overtaking Americans and Germans — making them the world’s biggest tourism spenders, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
Their numbers have also placed them among the most resented tourists. Mainland Chinese tourists, often laden with cash and unfamiliar with foreign ways, are tumbling out of tour buses with apparently little appetite for hotel breakfast buffets and no concept of lining up.
The frustrations with the new tourists were summed up on a Thai online message board last spring, when users posted complaints about Chinese tourists using outdoor voices inside and spitting in public, among other transgressions.
Last year, Thierry Gillier, a French fashion designer who founded the Zadig and Voltaire label, caused a small scandal when he told Women’s Wear Daily that Chinese tourists would not be welcome at his new Parisian boutique hotel. A barrage of international criticism persuaded him to apologize.
Like their predecessors, the Chinese are newly wealthy and helpless with foreign languages, a combination complicated by their developing country’s historical isolation.
“That China is a lawless, poorly educated society with a lot of money is going to take its toll on the whole world,” said Hung Huang, a popular blogger and magazine publisher in Beijing.
Despite these faux pas, countries are practically tripping over themselves to attract Chinese tourists. Wedding companies in South Korea are trying to lure Chinese couples with bling-heavy ceremonies inspired by the viral music video “Gangnam Style.” A coastal county outside Sydney, Australia, is building a $450 million Chinese theme park centered on a full-size replica of the gates to the Forbidden City and a nine-story Buddhist temple. France, one of the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists already — 1.4 million visited in 2012 — is working to further bolster its appeal.
To judge from the grumbling across the globe, such guidelines may be necessary. But the greatest opprobrium seems to be coming from fellow Chinese. In May, a mainland Chinese tourist in Luxor, Egypt, discovered that a compatriot had carved his own hieroglyphics on the wall of a 3,500-year-old temple. “Ding Jinhao was here,” it declared. A photo of the offending scrawl spread rapidly on Chinese social media, and outraged citizens tracked down the 15-year-old vandal. The uproar subsided after his parents issued a public apology.
Embarrassed by the spate of bad press that month, Wang Yang, China’s vice premier, publicly railed against the poor “quality and breeding” of Chinese tourists who tarnish their homeland’s reputation. “They make loud noises in public, scratch graffiti on tourist attractions, ignore red lights when crossing the road and spit everywhere,” he said, according to People’s Daily.
Despite his admonition, articles with headlines like “Chinese Bride Brawls in French Lavender Field” continue to appear in the state media.
Ms. Hung, the blogger, blames the Communist Party’s tumultuous rule for China’s uncivilized behavior abroad. “There’s an entire generation who learned you don’t pay attention to grooming or manners because that’s considered bourgeois,” she said. While Chinese are more open to Western ideas now, that has not necessarily sunk in when actually interacting with the outside world. “They think, ‘The hell with etiquette. As long as I have money, foreigners will bow to my cash.’ ”
Most mainland Chinese vacationers have a splendid time abroad. In May, Huang Honglin, 53, and his wife paid $8,000 for a 16-day group tour of the United States, a country he last visited on a business trip 25 years ago. That was long before he joined China’s growing middle class as the owner of a trading company.
This time around, Mr. Huang had money to burn. “We went shopping for gems in Hawaii and bought Prada bags in New York,” he recalled. Mr. Huang never made it to the chic boutiques of Manhattan. Instead, he traveled an hour north to the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, where many designer stores have recently hired employees who speak Chinese.
His only complaint was that they had to race through the racks before the bus departed. “Time was so short, it felt like war,” he said.
According to a McKinsey & Company report, nearly 70 percent of Chinese luxury consumers buy their Tiffany baubles and Hermès scarves abroad to avoid higher sales tax on such goods at home, which can reach 60 percent. Take the black Louis Vuitton “Neverfull” handbag, a hefty status symbol with straps that costs 14,400 renminbi in China, or $2,335 — over $350 more than the same item in the United States.
According to the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine, a publication read by wealthy Chinese tourists, the new generation of very affluent Chinese Chinese tourists want now more confidential signs of social status, as very expensive tailor made French luggage brands Moynat or Goyard. After all, “everyone has its Louis Vuitton bag in China. It’s very common now” said a representative of the Shanghai Travelers Club.
Chinese tourists boatingIn 2007, China granted the United States “approved destination status,” which opened the doors to Chinese group leisure travel to America beginning in 2008. Last year, 1.5 million Chinese arrived on American shores, spending nearly $8.8 billion, according to the Commerce Department. Today, around 150 travel agencies in the United States have the approval of the National Tour Association, an American trade group, to organize trips from China, many of them owned and operated by Chinese-Americans.
But the industry has experienced growing pains. Despite years of meetings in China and decades of leading motor coach tours across the United States, the travel agency AmericanTours International learned that Chinese tourists required a special touch. For one, people from Beijing and Shanghai cannot travel on the same bus.
“They clashed,” recalled Nick Hentschel, the company’s director of business development.
Last year, 1,500 Chinese took the company’s “Hollywood to Broadway” bus tour, a 20-day cross-country journey intended for mainlanders with stops that included a Las Vegas casino; the bridges of Madison County, Iowa; Niagara Falls; the White House; and the Empire State Building.
If the sights are crowd-pleasers, the overnight stays can sometimes prove challenging. “Smoking in hotel rooms is always a problem,” Mr. Hentschel said, a habit that can cost tourists hundreds of dollars in hotel cleaning bills. Then there was the episode last summer, he said, when a tour group caused a scene at a hotel in Cody, Wyo., after mistakenly thinking another busload of compatriots had been given preference at breakfast. The police were called to escort them out of town, he said.
More often, Chinese tourists find themselves victims of unscrupulous tour operators. On a weeklong guided tour through Thailand in 2009, Qi Lingfeng, 27, was one of several people in his group who refused to sign up for costly excursions like speedboat rides and concerts. As punishment, he said, the local guide locked them out of their hotel rooms. Other tourists at the same hotel, he said, were forced off their bus for the same transgression.
“It was so crazy, we even thought about calling the Chinese embassy in Bangkok,” he said.
During a group tour of the Siberian city of Vladivostok in January, Chen Xu, 47, a scientist from the coastal city of Xiamen, said the “ethnic Russian dancing” excursion, which cost $80, turned out to be a woman in a bikini twirling around a stripper pole.
“When the parents saw what was happening, they took their kids and left the room,” he said.
Surrounded by so many foreign stimuli, many yearn for a taste of home while abroad. Xie Nuoyan, 20, a college student from Beijing, felt as much during a recent visit to New York. While she appreciated the drinkable tap water, she said Chinatown was a letdown.
“I was really disappointed to see it’s not like in the movies, where there are lots of lanterns and performances everywhere,” she said.
On the upside, finding an abundance of Chinese food after days of consuming only strange Western concoctions redeemed the neighborhood.
“The sight of rice moved me to tears,” she said.

Source: New York Times / Dan Levin / Joshua Hunt

Korean Luxury retailers welcome Chinese shoppers during “Gold Week”

Chinese tourists in Korea- China Elite FocusAbout 150,000 Chinese tourists are expected to visit Korea during the seven-day Chinese National Holiday from Oct. 1-7,  a 60 percent increase on the year before.

For the past two years, Chinese tourists have been driving Korea’s tourism boom, making up more than a third of foreign visitors.

Various retailers, including department stores, are offering services specially tailored to cash in on the boom in Chinese visitors.

Lotte Department Store is running a “Find the Chinese shopping magnate” promotion, which offers golden pigs, each worth 5 million won, and round-trip tickets to customers who make a certain number of purchases. The store has also doubled the number of employees who speak Chinese, Asia Business Daily reports.

Shinsaegae Department Store is opening K-Pop pop-up stores to showcase famous Korean stars’ products, DVDs, and posters. Hyundai Department Store is launching “K Sales” to attract Chinese tourists, offering 10-20 percent discount to costumers with foreign passports.

Cosmetic brands in Myeongdong district are also offering customized services. For instance, Nature Republic is running advertisements in Chinese for its “The Prime Line” products, which are particularly popular with the Chinese.

An increasing number of Chinese visitors are travelling independently rather than in tour groups.

These independent tourists have a relatively high disposable income and spend more time shopping for luxury brands in Gangnam and Cheongdam districts rather than visiting tourist attractions.

As a result, more and more Korean retailers are increasing services and products aimed at visitors from China.

The impact of U.S. shutdown on affluent Chinese tourists (and America’s economy)

Chinese tourists in New York- China Elite FocusFor many in the tourism industry, the U.S. government’s partial shutdown could not come at a worse time. The week the United States closed its national parks, monuments and museums coincides with Golden Week, designated by the Chinese government as a time for its citizens to travel.
The United States was named the top “dream destination” for Chinese travelers, which make up the fastest-growing tourism market into the United States. But the dream vacation for many Chinese tourists has turned into a nightmare, according to Haybina Hao, director of international development for the National Tour Association, whose tour operators and other members focus on travel into and within North America.
“Many Chinese visitors have saved for years to take the trip of a lifetime to our country. They wanted to see Yellowstone, the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon,” Hao said. “But they’re seeing none of it. They are extremely frustrated and confused by U.S. politics.”
While Chinese travelers are losing a golden opportunity, U.S. tour operators are losing money. “I had a group of 25 Chinese visitors who planned to visit Yellowstone this week, but they cannot get in,” said Sonny Sang of California-based ACC America China Connection, a member of NTA’s China Inbound Program. “I re-routed them to another destination, but I’ll lose $10,000 on this group. And I have another group of 22 arriving on Sunday to see Yellowstone. The financial consequences are unbearable for me as a small tour operator.”
More and more Chinese have been arriving since 2008, when China began to allow leisure travelers to visit the United States in group tours. Since then, China has become the fastest-growing source of visitors for U.S. hotels, restaurants and attractions. Last year Chinese visitation here increased 41 percent, and spending by Chinese travelers rose 19 percent, following 47 percent increases in both 2010 and 2011.
Pierre Gervois, CEO of China Elite Focus Magazines, LLC and Publisher of luxury travel magazines in Chinese language such as the Shanghai Travelers’ Club, Luxury Hotels of America or Niuyue Mag, said “ We have reports of  very affluent Chinese tourists who have cancelled at the last minute their luxury shopping trip to the U.S. because of the shutdown. Knowing that they would have spent millions of dollars in shopping in the U.S., it’a direct and measurable loss for the U.S. economy”
Now they just need a place to spend it. “The tour operators I talked to are really scrambling to find alternative activities, including a tour operator who has more than 20 groups in the U.S. this week.” Hao said. “Compared to other countries that utilize creative ways to lure Chinese tourists, the U.S. shutdown will shatter the confidence of international travel companies.”
Many U.S. tour operators have become creative in salvaging their groups’ experiences, including Neil Amrine, owner of Guide Service of Washington (DC). “The biggest disappointment is the Smithsonian being closed, but we’re coming up with other solutions,” said Amrine, who revised the itinerary for a group of Chinese travelers this week, adding for-profit attractions and employing little-known pathways to view popular monuments. “They weren’t thrilled at first, but I think they’ll leave happy.”
The challenge for tour operators—and for the entire U.S. tourism industry—is to work with city and regional tourism organizations to develop alternatives to national parks and monuments that will satisfy travelers. Most are finding a wealth of options across the country, from California to Washington, D.C. At the same time, they’re keeping an eye on continuing closures and tourism roadblocks caused by the shutdown.
“We’re fielding calls nonstop and posing alternatives that are working,” Amrine said. “We’ve had only one group cancel, so we’ve been lucky… so far.”
As Gervois concluded” The purchasing power of Chinese inbound tourists in the United States is now so important for the country’s economy than it’s more than ever necessary to reach a bipartisan consensus to protect the travel and tourism industries’ interests”
Source: www.chinesetouristsinamerica.com