New Tourists at Old Destinations: Chinese Tourists in Europe
The tourism sector has become one of the most important economic sectors in the world. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that tourism-related activities account for about 9 percent of the world’s total GDP. Despite the global financial crisis, international tourism has experienced continued growth, expanding by 5 percent worldwide in 2013 (UNWTO, 2014, p. 3). The fastest growth happened in the Asia-Pacific region fueled by the growing disposable incomes of the newly emerging middle classes, but even traditional destinations such as Europe experienced a growth in arrivals of more than 5 percent in 2013. UNWTO expects this growth to continue at an average rate of about 3.3 percent per year for the next 15–20 years. For destinations interested in benefitting from this prospective growth, China has become an object of special interest. While China has long been one of the most popular destinations for international travelers, the country has only recently emerged as the largest source of international travelers. In an overturning of the traditional division of labor within the tourism sector, where developing nations have long been important destinations for international travelers, the wanderlust of China’s emerging middle class now extends from regional destinations such as Hong Kong and Japan to classic European destinations, with France and Italy as the preferred holiday spots in Europe (Timemetric, 2014).
KeywordsTourism Industry Chinese Market Tourism Sector Tourism Management Travel Career
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