China is one of the most populous countries in the world. With a population of 1.4 billion, the Middle Kingdom represents a significant tourism potential. The country’s meteoric growth since 1979 allows the Chinese to benefit from greater purchasing power, thus encouraging them to travel. France is a destination of choice, the third most popular in Europe for the Chinese, but still too under-exploited: in 2017, 135 million Chinese left their country to travel, and only 2 million went to France.
France attracts tourists
In 2018, Paris was voted the preferred destination for travellers, a distinction it had not had since 2013, following the difficult events facing the country. 2017 was the year of the tourist revival, with a 17.8% increase in Chinese tourists, or 1.14 million more people compared to previous years. Known around the world for its refinement, monuments and history, the French capital attracts millions of people every year who contribute to the country’s good economy. This year, punctuated by the launch of the EU-China project, aims to develop relations between the Old Continent and China, through tourism and reciprocal investment. An interesting project, because the Chinese clientele is the one who spends the most money in France during its tourist trips, with an average basket of 1698 euros recorded in November 2017. If these expenses are so important in France, it is also because the Chinese appreciate French fashion and luxury, internationally recognized.
Bordeaux is not left out
La Belle Endormie also attracts Chinese tourists, for its modern and ancient architecture, its beauty, its history and… its wines! Indeed, the Chinese particularly appreciate the Bordeaux appellation and the prestige that makes it their reputation. Visitors come especially for wine tourism to discover the secrets of the vineyards, taste the most well-known and renowned wines, but also, for the most important budgets, buy estates. At present, 137 bordeaux wineries are owned by Chinese investors, who particularly appreciate the beauty and space of the estates, where they can invite their families on holiday. A pied-à-terre just a stone’s throw from the ocean and the Pyrenees, the land of winter sports that Chinese people are increasingly fond of, following the announcement of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. Sensitive to gastronomy, Chinese travellers also enjoy discovering the French culinary arts through the cuisine of French chefs based in Bordeaux such as Pierre Gagnaire, Philippe Etchebest or Thierry Marx who offer gourmet cuisine. Although they are not in the top 5 foreign tourists (occupied by Spaniards, British, Americans, Italians and Germans), the Chinese are increasingly turning to cities like Bordeaux, far from Paris, which offer their own heritage to discover.
The behavior of Chinese tourists has changed in recent years, they are looking for new experiences, away from tourist buses and organized group trips, they tend to travel individually, to discover foreign cities in a different way. An asset that tourism professionals must take advantage of, considering that 7 out of 10 Chinese travellers book their accommodation via an online travel agency (OTA) platform. In twenty years, the number of Chinese tourists has exceeded the number of Americans who have gone on vacation abroad. It is therefore now more than ever time to take care of this particular clientele, which is developing the tourism economy in France and Europe.
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