Posted June. 28, 2010 11:40,
The global tourism industry is scrambling to attract Chinese tourists.
This is what Shim Jeong-bo, chief of Korea Tourism Organizations Beijing office, said at the Beijing International Tourism Expo 2010 held at the Beijing International Exhibition Center Sunday.
Visitors came in droves despite the day being the expos last. Growing incomes in China and the stronger yuan have raised demand for overseas travel by Chinese.
One 25-year-old Chinese office worker said, I plan to travel overseas on my summer vacation, adding, I thought it`d be costly but realized it wasnt as expensive as I thought.
The expo has also significantly increased in scale. The number of countries that installed promotional booths at the international pavilion to promote their tourist attractions jumped from 82 last year to more than 100 this year.
Air carriers and tour agencies even from African nations, including Algeria and Kenya, also took part as well as countries from the Middle East, which is a new phenomenon.
Many tourist agencies in China also flocked to the event, with more than 500 seeking to send Chinese tourists abroad attending. Also participating were more than 400 resorts and villas in China seeking to get Chinese to travel within their own country.
The expos attendance figure will likely rise 25 percent from last years 120,000.
China Youth Tour Service, the countrys No. 2 tourist agency which sold tour packages for the first time at the expo, said, We sold tour packages worth 1.5 million yuan (135,000 U.S. dollars) at the expo over two days Friday and Saturday, adding, This achievement far exceeded our expectations.
Tours to Korea are especially popular among Chinese tourists. A source at China Youth Tour Service in charge of Korean tourism said, Many Chinese visit Korea and Japan because it`s easier to get visas than the U.S. and Europe, while prices are relatively cheaper, but added, It`s extremely difficult, however, to purchase air tickets for Korea.
For Korea, 12 agencies, including eight metropolitan and provincial governments, staged promotional activities under the supervision of Korea Tourism Organization with satisfactory results. One official said, We`ve confirmed the potential of Korean tourism, adding, Chinese tourists are mainly interested in three fields: shopping in Seoul, tourism and honeymoons on Jeju Island, and medical tourism.
Interest in medical tourism increased by the day. Yonsei SK Hospital, Hus-hu Dental Clinic and JK Plastic Surgery Center said thousands to tens of thousands of promotional brochures were taken.
Korea Tourism Organization said the number of Chinese visiting Korea grew 78.3 percent in May year-on-year and is expected to jump about 90 percent this month.