As the Chinese economy continues to improve and consumers' incomes are rising, so is their desire to travel and explore the world. According to a research by the Boston Consulting Group, by 2020 China will be the second largest tourism market.
At first this might appear that this is good news - more revenues for the tourism sector. Even though the prospect of an increase in travel is great, there is the problem that the world is not ready for a flood of Chinese tourists. This is due to the fact that vacation destinations rarely target the Chinese, so now they are not ready to accommodate them and meet their expectations. What companies need to consider is that the majority of these travelers will be first time travelers who have considerably different habits than those from the western world.
One of the main issues is that a large number of airports, restaurants, and lodging places do not offer menus and information in Chinese. Furthermore, companies need to make themselves known to the Chinese consumer. In the western world, many travelers use referrals from friends when picking out places, whereas the Chinese traveler relies on package deals and travel agents. Another important change would be hiring sales representatives and managers who are fluent in Chinese. All of these would not only attract consumers but also keep them coming back.
The growth in the travel and tourism market in China is a great opportunity for many companies - especially the early movers. Building relationships with Chinese customers should become a priority for those in the tourism business.