More Germans say ‘Ni Hao’ to Chinese Tourists

BERLIN, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) — Yan Zi was surprised at a waistcoat booth when the German vendor started speaking Chinese to her. The 29-year-old was with four of her friends in a visit to Regensburg, a Bavarian city in South Germany, whose medieval centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Germany welcomes Chinese Tourists

“You speak Chinese?” She asked in English excitedly. Unfortunately, besides “Piao Liang” and “Pian Yi”, beautiful and cheap in Mandarin Chinese, the vendor knows little about Yan Zi’s language.

The vendor is not the only one increasing his efforts to welcome Chinese visitors. In front of the Dom, Chinese national flag is printed at the side of flags of Germany and Britain on a sightseeing bus, showing that it provides guidance in Chinese.

“Many German cities have contacted us, asking for more Chinese tourists,” said Zhang Xiaoxing, marketing manager of Caisser Touristic, one of the largest travel service in Germany to host tourists from China.

In 2011, German Federal Statistic Office recorded more than 1.3 million overnight stays by Chinese visitors. “This represents a year-on-year increase of 21 percent and surpasses the record figures we achieved in 2010,” said Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB).

“China is becoming a hugely important source market for inbound travel to Germany,” Hedorfer said. “Chinese people spend one to two nights in our country and an average of 320 euros per day.”

GNTB expects the number of overnight stays by Chinese visitors to double in the coming 10 years, with increasing spending here.

“Many tourism and retail service providers have tried to adapt themselves more to the needs of Chinese visitors and to offer information in Chinese. Some hotels offer Chinese breakfast and TV channels, many cities have Chinese language websites,” said Professor Wolfgang Georg Arlt, director of China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI), which analyses the Chinese tourism market.

With their increasing number, Chinese tourists have had “big changes” in the last 15 years, said Arlt. The last years saw the first wave of visitors from China hurriedly ticking off the major sights and branded shops, “leaving impression as they appear to be only superficially interested in places they visited.”

“The new Chinese tourists are arriving in more diverse locations and stay for more than just a snapshot,” Arlt said. The second wave of Chinese tourists, as they are called by COTRI, are more able to speak English or other foreign languages and are slowing down to enjoy their travel in smaller destinations.

In Caisser Touristic, individually designed service is gaining new profit. “Increasing number of tourists from China is asking to arrange their travel schedule according to their own favor,” said Zhang Xiaoxing.

For Yan Zi, it was a unforgettable experience to visit the calm city of Regensburg after reveling with beer and oompah music in the Munich Oktoberfest 130 kilometers away. “It was the original Bavaria-style revel,” she said.

According to COTRI, a number of developments have positively influenced the start of the second wave of China’s outbound tourism: increase of Chinese income, change of their consuming attitude, simplified procedures to issue passports and tourist visas, increased offline and online tourism marketing by national and regional tourism organizations, better information about traveling through social media contacts, and so on.

Since late 2012, Germany will loosen its visa regulation for travelers from China. “That will attract more Chinese tourists here. It’s also favorable for German economy,” Zhang Xiaoxing said.

Information Source: Xinhua Net
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