Analysis: Why China’s Tourism Dollar is Up With Less Foreign Visitors

China’s Ministry of Tourism said last week that the number of incoming tourists has shrunk by 2% compared to last year’s first quarter.

The trend was the opposite for revenue from tourism though. It increased by 15.8%, rising over $133 billion U.S. dollars last year.

The drop in tourists but a hike in profits seems contradictory. But it could be partially explained by the commercialization of China’s cultural attractions.

[Allan Xie, China Traveler]:
“There’s really no area that’s too sacred to put a gift shop.”

[Daniel McCrohan, Travel Writer in Beijing]:
“It’s ridiculous, like a zoo in some places.”

[Linhai, Founder, Sacred Journeys Treks and Study Tours]:
“Generally speaking tourism in China can nickel and dime you to death if you don’t know what you are doing.”

The rise of the yuan may also be a factor. Over the past 20 some years Linhai says he has seen his tourist groups shrink as the yuan rises against the dollar.

But at least for most westerners, lower costs on the ground once they get to China work in their favor. Travel there is generally less than places like Europe and North America.

Daniel McCrohan, Travel Writer in Beijing]:
“The price of transport, the price of food, the relatively cheap price of accommodation, if you compare that to the West it’s a lot, lot cheaper.”

And as Chinese themselves get wealthier, more and more are traveling to see their homeland.

[Linhai, Founder, Sacred Journeys Treks and Study Tours]:
“They are going everywhere, doing everything because they have the resources to do it.”

And they could account for tourism’s increase, both in terms of profits and its commercialization.

[Daniel McCrohan, Travel Writer in Beijing]:
“Domestic tourists really love buying souvenirs and gifts, gifts for people when they get back. So that is one of the reason they have so many gift shops and souvenir shops around these tourist sites.”

[Allan Xie, China Traveler]:
“The Grand Canyon, you know, you’ll see four or five gift shops. In China the walkway will literally be lined with gift shops.”

The government has also encouraged the tourism industry. In 2000 it created two nationwide travel times called “Golden week”. Workers have several days to go back home to see family and, of course, travel around China.

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Categories: Asia


  1. Patrick Pictures
    Patrick Pictures 18 April, 2016, 04:32

    fuck Falungong.

    Reply this comment

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