'China fever' sweeps US tourism industry

16:01, May 25, 2011      

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The International Pow Wow 2011, hosted by the U.S. Travel Association, kicked off in San Francisco on May 23.

More than 5,500 delegates from 70 countries took part in the three-day convention, and China's contingent to the conference included more than 100 groups. The annual International Pow Wow started in 1969, and the number of "buyers" from China hit an all-time high this year.

An increasing Chinese presence can be noticed at the biggest international tourism trade fair in the United States. According to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the United States will increase by 232 percent in the next five years.

An insider in the Chinese tourism industry from Kunming, capital of China's Yunnan Province, said the operators of the U.S. tourism industry believe in "loyal customers" and have a long-term view and a sense of quality. In contrast, Chinese tourism operators seem to be anxious to achieve quick success and get instant benefits, leading them to make missteps, such as overemphasizing free tour fares.

"There is no free lunch in the world. Some tour groups visiting the United States reduce the tour fare, but they give up many important attractions that require entrance tickets. This will lower the tour quality," said the insider.

Some people in the U.S. travel industry noted that travel is both an interaction and a kind of study. For example, tipping for services is considered common practice in the United States. The American public will consciously stand in line as long as there are more than three people. In addition, not smoking in public places has become a social convention in the United States. In respect to these issues, the organizers of Chinese tour groups need to make preparations, and Chinese tourists also should be self-disciplined in order to avoid unhappy incidents.

With the expansion of China's outbound tourism market aimed at the United States, many tourism insiders are looking for more tourist products. "More and more Chinese tourists seek unique experiences during their tour, which is the inevitable trend of the market," said a Chinese "buyer" at the trade fair.

By Ye Xin, People's Daily Online
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