The Chinese tourists challenge

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About 100 million Chinese will travel abroad this year. This is a new record and they will in their spending also outperform the previous record holders US-America and Germany. Karla Cripps from “CNN” discusses how the new big spenders from the East challenge the Western tourism industry.
In some Asian countries Chinese are already or will soon become the biggest group of tourists, but the boom in Chinese tourism is felt worldwide. Of course it is welcomed, but Chinese tourists require special attention with regard to some travelling traditions and attitudes. Especially upper bracket hotels in Europe have started to employ staff speaking the languages and equip rooms with the traditional tea kettle and sandals. More difficult to cope with are the high demands of Chinese tourists. Especially rich tourists view their money as the key to first class services and feel racially stigmatized if they have to wait or services do not live up to their expectations. A German tourism expert summarizes this attitude with the words “You toss coins and Western people dance for you”. Of course the statement reflects more the higher visibility of a minority of badly behaving tourists or those travelling abroad the first time. In fact rarely discussed is the also growing number of seasoned Chinese tourists who just blend in with their host countries.
A look on their colonial history explains why Chinese may feel more easily offended when encountering problems in the West. However, Chinese tourists can cause a small clash in cultures everywhere and they don’t have to travel far to face resentment. Clashes between mainland Chinese tourists and locals regularly fill the tabloids of Hong Kong. To attribute the problems to the Chinese mentality however seems more than biased. Travelling requires experience with unwritten rules of etiquette many of which could not be learned until now for many. Only now that they are increasingly allowed and able to venture outside their country they will become increasingly familiar with other cultures and that money does not buy everything everywhere. Like all tourists the Chinese demand and deserve respect and hospitality, and will return it.