- Chinese pie: what piece will Russia get?
- Stable growth
- There are no circuses without bread
- China Friendly
According to the American Attract China Inc, the number of people traveling abroad from the PRC annually is more than 140 million people, and the amount of dollars spent by them is more than 188 billion. Thus, the Chinese have taken the first place on the podium of tourism honor: they spend much more money on holidays than guests from other countries, and these amounts are growing annually by 25%.
Chinese pie: what piece will Russia get?
Russia ranks among the ten most interesting destinations for the Chinese traveler, but so far only 1% of travelers from China are content.
This figure is incommensurable with the potential of the domestic tourism industry, with the cultural and historical capabilities of Russia, especially since the geographical expanses of our country allow us to create a suitable niche for any Chinese tourist, regardless of his cultural, religious, aesthetic preferences and material capabilities.
At the last Russian-Chinese tourism forum, Deputy Head of Rostourism Sergey Korneev noted that since 2013, the flow of guests from China to Russia has been demonstrating stable growth, increasing due to visa-free exchange by 60% or more annually.
According to the vice-president of ATOR (Association of Tour Operators of Russia) Vladimir Kantorovich, the Chinese are the only tourists who are interested in our communist, Soviet heritage and past. They were brought up on Soviet propaganda, and for them these things are not at all an empty phrase, unlike the vast majority of other foreigners. But what upsets them is the lack of infrastructure "sharpened" on them.
That is why, at a meeting with Irkutsk Governor Sergey Levchenko, Secretary of the Tourism Leisure Department of the Chinese Tourism Association Wei Xiaoan said that investors from the PRC are focused on projects related to the development of the hotel business in the Russian Federation, environmental and health tourism, as well as on the possibilities of working on Lake Baikal and the Yenisei tourist environmentally friendly ships, modernization and construction of berths: "Today the most promising destination for our travelers is Lake Baikal. We expect that after some time, as a result of our joint efforts, you will be able to receive here, on Lake Baikal, 1 million Chinese tourists in Recently, the flow of Chinese tourists to the Irkutsk region has been increasing by 50% every year, so it is quite possible to achieve our goals, "he summed up.
Interestingly, long-haul travel from China has started to rise recently. And if the adult generation prefers to vacation in Thailand, Hong Kong or Korea, then young people under 30 are actively treading paths to Europe, the United States and the Middle East, and the growth of Chinese tourist flow in these directions exceeds 50%, 70% and even 90% over the last 3 -4 years. Since many of them travel in transit through Russia, it is possible to offer Chinese tourists combined tours that allow them to combine visits to Russia and Europe.
The largest Russian tour operator for inbound tourism Intourist Thomas Cook has been working with this direction for several decades and was the first among Russian companies to be certified in the China Friendly program. Leonid Marmer, General Director of Intourist Thomas Cook, explains what this status actually means: “The China Friendly status is, in fact, a kind of quality mark and for our company it is a worthy assessment of all efforts to promote Russia as an attractive tourist destination for guests from China. Yes, many companies are now trying to receive Chinese tourists, but not all of them are capable of doing this at a high level. In this case, Intourist's experience will serve as a good example for others. After all, it's not just a matter of getting a certificate. It is important to understand how much work and effort our company is making in order not in words, but in deeds to standardize the quality of the entire range of services provided and meet the high requirements of the program."
By correctly understanding the needs and opportunities, it is possible to develop a recreation program for any Chinese who wants to see Russia and get to know its sights. In this case, it is only important to correctly present the product with a person. When preparing proposals for tour operators, an analysis of the existing market and knowledge of the peculiarities of the Chinese mentality will help, according to Forbes:
- An advertising campaign for a Russian tourist product in the Middle Kingdom should be focused on regional media. Considering that more than 50% of Chinese tourists are people under 29, Internet sites and blogs of authors popular among young people should be involved in cooperation.
- Particular emphasis should be placed on residents of regional capitals in particular, and southern provinces in general. These places are inhabited by people with stable earnings who can afford a flight to Moscow or St. Petersburg and will not save money on excursions and hotels once they find themselves there.
- Chinese tourists are more advanced than others in terms of new technologies, and therefore the development of mobile travel applications and the availability of information in Chinese on existing Internet resources will greatly simplify the process of finding and choosing a tourist product of interest to them.
Studying the characteristics of the average traveler from the Middle Kingdom will help not only attract him to a trip to Russia, but also keep him as a regular customer. Do not forget that the Chinese prefer to draw information from the reviews of previous hotel guests or restaurant visitors, and therefore it is important to first impress them, and then provide a convenient opportunity to express their opinion on specialized sites on the Internet.
There are no circuses without bread
Chinese tourists are more attached to the national cuisine than others, and this feature also becomes a stumbling block for tourist trips across Russia. And if in both capitals there are still authentic restaurants, in the provinces the problem of food is especially acute for guests from the Middle Kingdom.
The times when in the suitcase of any Chinese a couple of packages of noodles brewed with boiling water were in store have long and fortunately sunk into oblivion. They want to relax in comfort and spend money on restaurants, and in this desire they should be encouraged.
In the course of surveys, travelers from the PRC note points that the host should take care of:
- They prefer to pay with bank cards of their own payment system China UnionPay. Unbiased statistics claim that they use these cards to make purchases worth four times what they spend on Visa or MasterCard.
- It is important for them to have free WiFi in restaurants, lobbies and hotel rooms, and its speed should allow users to surf the Web without any problems.
- Travel guides and maps, metro and other public transport maps, descriptions of famous attractions offered by travel agencies, hotels and information centers must contain a Chinese version. This increases the prospect of choice several times. The same goes for the availability of service personnel who speak Chinese.
In their own reviews, tourists pay a lot of attention to the helpfulness of guides, waiters and hotel staff, the convenience of hotel rooms, the comfort of the beds, the presence of teapots and slippers in the rooms, and even the speed of the elevators. Little things? Perhaps, but if they play such a role in the development of the tourism market, then why not turn their importance to the Chinese into their own merits?
The China Friendly program is largely designed to promote the Russian tourist product to the international level. Its goal is to create comfortable conditions for travelers from China to stay in Russia and to stimulate repeat sales of tours and excursions.
According to Svetlana Pyatikhatka, Executive Director of the World Without Borders Travel Association, one of the important elements in promoting Russian tourism potential is information tours for representatives of Chinese business, because during such trips, the heads of Chinese travel companies are not only personally convinced of the attractiveness of the destination, but also participate in B2B meetings, establish close contacts between representatives of Russian and Chinese business. “Now for inbound tourism there is a rather advantageous situation due to the depreciation of the ruble, because the rest in Moscow for foreigners has become cheaper, and we need to make ourselves known as brightly as possible, take advantage of this situation to increase the inbound tourist flow,” the expert concludes.
In the near future, potential travelers will be able to appreciate the beauty of near and distant destinations at exhibition stands, and then during travel. Chinese businessmen and wealthy tourists will have the opportunity to see and buy the famous Yakut diamonds, and fans of ecological routes will not miss the chance to admire Baikal. Responsible workers representing the older generation will respectfully ride the "red route" through Lenin's places, and sports youth will walk along the hiking trails of the Lena Pillars reserve. Romantics will admire the northern lights in the Arctic, and curious travelers interested in history and architecture will take a million photos in Kolomenskoye, Yaroslavl and St. Petersburg.
Participants of the China Friendly program note the growing interest of Chinese tourists in Russia and strive to overcome cultural differences between countries, to provide a truly customer-oriented service. In the near future, it is planned to increase the number of hotels that meet the criteria of the program (now there are 28 in 10 regions of Russia), and to connect museums, restaurants and shops to the project, so that tourists from China would be as comfortable as possible in our country.
“Considering the number of China's population exceeding 1.5 billion people, we have colossal prospects,” is the summary of Vladimir Kantarovich. If an appropriate impetus is given, everyone will go here."