Tag Archives: Chinese Tourists

Can Barbados successfully tap the exploding Chinese tourism market?

Chinese tourists at Cricket World Cup 2007

Chinese tourists at Cricket World Cup 2007

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

The name Wang Jianlin may not resonate with you, but according to the South China Morning Post he is the richest man in China and recently announced plans to build the world’s biggest tourism enterprise which will overtake the current giant, Disney.

The chairman of the Wanda Group stated that his holding company will achieve an annual revenue of 100 billion Yuan (one Yuan currently equals .16 US Cents), attain annual net profits of US$10 billion and handle 200 million visitors by as early as 2020.

At this stage he has not ruled out entry into the aviation segment after China lifted a five year restrictions on applications for new airlines in 2013 ‘spawning a wave of privately owned start-up carriers’.

To even try and understand the exponential growth, Wanda’s in house travel agency revenue is expected to reach 10 billion Yuan this year, 20 billion by 2017 and 40 billion by 2020.

Last month Wang together with Tencent Holdings and Citic Capital led a US$967 million acquisition of ticketing website, Ly.com, which is currently the country’s third largest online travel site in terms of revenue generated.

The Wanda Group includes the ownership and/or management of over 70 luxury hotels, the world’s largest cinema operation, 110 plazas, 22 million square metres of leasable property, film and television production, substantial print media interests, art investment with total assets exceeding US$85 billion and spanning across four continents. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, China

Is Barbados special enough to attract Chinese tourists?

Chinese tourists at Cricket World Cup 2007

Chinese tourists at Cricket World Cup 2007

Bridgetown is a long way from Beijing!

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Much discussion has taken place over the last year or so about the importance of attracting Chinese visitors to Barbados, and few could disagree that it is a potential massive market that cannot be ignored.

Let us, though, take a minute to look at the practical reality.

Using Great Circle (shortest route by air) distances, Beijing is a mind-boggling 8,775 miles from Barbados. Shanghai is some 9,381. Even if current aircraft could fly those distances non-stop, it entails a minimum flying time of 17 to 19 hours and then there are all sorts of crewing and equipment challenges.

Air China is presently the only airline to operate non-stop services from Beijing to New York (JFK) with11 flights weekly by B777-200 aircraft and a flight time of around 13 hours. China Eastern Airlines operate Shanghai to JFK at least daily.

In an extensive interview recently, when questioned about direct flights into the Caribbean, Dr. Zhihang Chi, Vice President and General Manager of North America for Air China stated that was not an option. However, he said ‘that China’s flag carrier would instead be targeting more flights to North American hubs and striking up partnerships with local carriers to funnel traffic into the Caribbean’.  Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, China

Airlift is the key to Bajan hope for Chinese Tourists

Tourism MATTERS!

by Adrian Loveridge - small hotel owner

Its easy to understand why so many people get carried away in the flood to try and ensure that ‘we’ get our share of the the outbound Chinese tourism market. You only have to read some of the headlines like:

‘The Chinese are coming. By their millions. As tourists. And it will change our economy in ways that we cannot even imagine’ according to Tim Hughes a director of Australian based, Value Capital Management.

‘Chinese outbound luxury tourism in growing by more than 25 per cent each year’ and in 2011, 60 million Chinese tourists will travel abroad and spend more than US$50 billion’. source:  China Elite Focus website.

The World Tourism Organisation predicts that “China will have 100 million outbound travellers and become the world’s largest source of outbound travel in the world in 2020’.

In 2010 the US State Department of Commerce declared that ‘the average Chinese tourist spends US$7,000 per stay, more than any other nationality’.

I could go on, and on, but if only a small percentage of these predictions and statistics are, or become factual, its a market we cannot afford to ignore.

“Our biggest challenge of course is geography.”

Beijing is 8,775 miles away, Shanghai 9,381 and Shenzhen, China’s fourth largest city in terms of population, 9,939 miles, and these are the shortest Great Circle distances flying over the North Pole.

China already has a sub-tropical paradise on it doorstep. Continue reading


Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, China

Everyone Has The Same Idea: Chinese Tourism Will Save Us!

Chinese Tourist

With so many countries looking for Chinese tourists, what can Barbados do to stand out?

What does Barbados have in common with Bermuda, Italy, the U.K., Guam, Georgia, New York City, the Emirates, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Viet Nam, Germany, Malaysia, Fiji, Ecuador, Montenegro, Egypt, France, India, Mexico, Thailand, Bahamas, Amsterdam, Indonesia and New Zealand?

Every one of those places (and more) recently announced an intention to court the Chinese outbound tourist market in an effort to counter losses from the current financial crisis. Yup… we’re all relying on China to make up the losses we’ve seen in tourist dollars from our regular markets. It sounds like a great plan in Barbados, until you Google “China + Tourism” and see how many other countries have the same idea!

Is the Chinese tourist pie so big that it can be cut into that many slices? And why should the Chinese want to come to Barbados rather than one of the other destinations approved by their Communist government?

Of the two questions, perhaps the second one is more important for the Barbados tourism industry. Why would a Chinese tourist want to come to Barbados instead of some other destination?

Sizzle without Steak is no longer sustainable

As I see it, successful tourism is about doing a few basic things well: defining your product(s), identifying likely target groups, selling the sizzle – but being able to deliver enough steak once the tourists get to the destination that they don’t feel deceived and disappointed.

Barbados has traditionally been good at the sale, but not so great at delivering a product that matches the promotion. You don’t need to believe me about that: just head over to YouTube and watch a few Barbados Tourism commercials (here, here & here) – then think about the expectations that were created and the tough reality of fulfilling those expectations. Now consider the reality of too much garbage on the streets, the traffic in the city and the shortage of open space, beach access and parking on the “Platinum Coast” (a BTA-created phrase if I ever heard one).

The difference between sizzle and steak is not very different from other tourist destinations though. Disney World shows happy people in their commercials, but leaves out the kids puking on the rides. Disney also doesn’t tell you that Orlando has a violent crime rate that is triple the U.S. national average! Thefts are a little better at only double the national rate.

Similarly the folks who promote Paris don’t tell you that so many of that city’s residents urinate anywhere they choose that the place smells little better than a sewer in the summer. Hardly the romantic image beloved by the people who create the Paris Tourist Board commercials. And to top it off… you thought Bridgetown shop clerks were sullen? You should experience the miserable souls who staff the tourist traps on rue de Rivoli!

The Web has changed the world, but does the Barbados Tourism Authority realise what that really means?

Every destination has to deal with the dichotomy between the advertised image and the reality. The difference today is that countries can’t so easily get away with cover-ups and false advertising. The web has reduced the ability of governments and the news media to fool all of the people all of the time. Barbados can pay foreign journalists to write positive articles (and we pay top dollar!), but hundreds or thousands of tourists will still report the truth on the web for all to see. Read some of the Trip Advisor reviews of horrible hotels and you’ll understand what I mean. (Time Out at the Gap, anyone? “Don’t go there” says a visitor from Scotland.)

That brings us to the Chinese market. The Chinese are connected online like few other countries. Heavily censored and monitored of course, but there are still so many Chinese on the internet that only a few bad experiences in Barbados could have a totally disproportionate impact if posted on the net by disgruntled tourists. There are many topics that Chinese can’t talk about online, but (although I have no specific knowledge) I would be surprised if hotel reviews about Barbados are a prohibited topic!

Our government is doing its best to tap the giant Chinese tourism market. We’ve opened a mission and sent a former Prime Minister as Ambassador and that says much to the Chinese about how we value their business. No doubt we will produce some fine promotional videos and written materials that are scientifically tuned to attract the targeted audience. We’ve probably already hosted some Chinese journalists and politicians – plying them with the best tours, alcohol, accommodations and meals that we can scrounge up.

All that is the sizzle. But what about the steak?

Think of the multitudes in Beijing or Hong Kong as they consider a trip half way around the world to Barbados. What do they hope to find? What are they trying to get away from? What do they expect from the ordinary Bajan on the street?

I don’t know the answer to any of those questions – but if our government is really serious about the Chinese, we’d better start telling our citizens and our hospitality industry about the cultural differences and expectations of our Chinese guests or this opportunity will evaporate as quickly as you can say, “I don’t like this hotel room.”

…article by J.M. with a little help from Cliverton

Further Reading

Voice Online UK: Barbados: Caribbean urged to pursue Chinese tourists


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, China, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism