China to encourage outbound tourism

China is rolling out initiatives to encourage outbound tourism.

The ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) in Beijing has plans to launch a series of programmes in 2013 to increase tourism from China to other states. The initiative will especially focus on Southeast Asian regions where tourists from China have not been going in large numbers.

ACC secretary general, Ma Mingqiang, said, ‘Some 90 percent of Chinese travel to Europe, the US, Japan and South Korea, but only about 11 percent head to South-east Asia. There is obviously still a lot of growth potential for this region. Chinese tourists spent USD7.2bn in Europe during the last Lunar New Year holidays. Why should Chinese tourists go all the way to Europe when the same luxury products they desire can be found in Singapore and Malaysia too?’

The focus of the initiative is on developing local markets and also markets in nearby nations, which will generate returns for China in the long run. The centre said that it would employ a number of means, the most important being awareness through the media.

There is a general belief that the Chinese know little about the 10 ASEAN countries, and there are plans to promote documentaries via China’s TV channels and hold a tourism exhibition at the Wangfujing building in Beijing during the Labour Day holiday, which sees 310,000 visitors daily. A travel guidebook for Chinese travellers will also be produced

Welcoming ACC’s initiatives, Saly Phimphinith, director general for tourism marketing department at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism in Laos, said, ‘I hope (ACC’s efforts) will drive the middle- and high-end segments to Laos, as Chinese tourists to Laos are generally lower-spending compared to Europeans.’