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Archive for May, 2016 – China predicted to be largest international tourism source for US by 2020

A recent report by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) predicts that China will be the largest international tourism source market for the U.S. by 2020, excluding Mexico and Canada. This marks a pivotal visitor scenario shift from the one that was dominated by the UK and Japan.

PATA, which analyzes Asia-Pacific region’s international travel trends, predicts that by 2020 the number of Chinese travelers visiting the US will reach 5 million per year.

Furthermore, the annual growth rate will be approximately 13 percent for the next five years. In 2015, 3 million Chinese visited the US and China was the third largest tourism source market.

As such, six percent of all the overseas visitors to the US would be Chinese by 2020 compared to UK’s and Japan’s market share of 4.27 percent and 4.03 percent, respectively. The market share of Canada and Mexico put together is 50 percent.

David Huether, senior vice president of research at the U.S. Travel Associations, said the number of visitors from the UK and Japan would continue to rise over the next 10 years, but the annual growth rate is likely to be only in single digits.
Huether also said that an oncoming wave should not be anticipated, even though there will be more Chinese travelers, because that has already happened in the past decade. He further added that the ten years will see strong growth.

According to him, the growth rate of Chinese arrivals to the U.S. is moderating after experiencing a growth rate of 36 percent in 2011 and 20 percent in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The forecast is that the growth rate will be in double digits through 2020. However, it is likely to be in the range of 16 to 17 or 18 percent.
Instead of just two countries making up a large chunk of the overseas tourism source market (as in 2000), eight countries make up 50 percent of the visitation market with equal shares. Apart from China, travelers from several other countries to the US are expected to grow.

Currently, Brazil is the third biggest overseas source market. The country is likely to maintain its position in 2020. However, the average annual growth rate will be the highest from the Asia-Pacific region.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, the overall increase in travel exports was 3.5 percent during the period March 2015 to March 2016. In 2015, international travelers spent as much as $277 billion in the US, the best performance in a couple of years, indicating that the moderation in international visitors’ spending has started to ebb.

In the recent times, the Japanese Yen has lost some ground against the dollar and therefore there is a slowdown in spending. On the other hand, the decline of Chinese yuan against the dollar has not been much. The British pound started to soften against the dollar only during 2015.

he growth in tourism to the US has also been fueled by higher incomes in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in China. Further, the report pointed out that the income sensitivity displayed by the European source markets (specifically Germany and France) and the Americas (Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela in particular) are higher compared to the tourism source markets in the Asia-Pacific region. – How global visa changes are building a $450B Chinese tourism bonanza

By 2025, Goldman Sachs predicts 220 million tourists from China will spend $450 billion annually.1

This makes Chinese one of the most lucrative targets in the global economy – a fact recognised by governments across the world that are loosening visa policies, introducing extended visas, simplifying application processes, and cutting fees in order to compete for this highly lucrative market.

Established markets up their game

Travel and hotspots long favoured by Chinese tourists, such as the United States (US), Japan, Australia, the UK, Canada, South Korea, Singapore, and Europe, have all recently made sweeping changes to their visa policies to make them even more attractive and accessible.

While policies differ by location, the underlying changes can be broken down as follows:

  • Longer visa validities: Visas with ten-year validity – like those offered by the US2, Singapore3, Canada4, South Korea5, and Australia6 – have become much more common. Typically with a 3-6 month maximum stay per visit, these visas reduce the hassle of repeated applications for Chinese travellers and offer long-term access.
  • Simplified application processes: Online application processes and the removal of requirements for reams of supporting paperwork have made applying for visas much easier. Additionally, embassies from countries such as the UK7, Finland8 and Denmark9 are increasingly upping the ante by going to where the applicants are and opening up more visa centres across China to make ease and speed up visa applications for Chinese.
  • Reduced fees: Governments have made it cheaper than ever before to get a visa. The UK, for example, has cut the cost of a two-year tourist visa from £324 to £85 to entice more tourists, and other countries have also reduced their fees to cut the cost of application.

More importantly, these policy changes appear to be paying off. A prime example is Japan, whose government relaxed requirements for three-year multiple-entry visas and started offering five-year multiple-entry visas for high-income groups during early 201510 – China arrivals in Japan doubled to 5 million in 2015, compared to 2.1 million in 2014.


Broader horizons see Chinese tourists growing more adventurous

However, the growing populace of Chinese tourists is an increasingly varied bunch with a widening range of locations filling up their bucket lists.

As such, even countries not usually considered as standard tourist hotspots, such as Iran12 and Israel13, are also making their plays to catch a share of China’s outbound tourism market.

Africa is also a case in point. Currently the fastest-growing port of arrival for Chinese tourists, Africa is seeing 80.9% annual growth in 2014, totalling an estimated 10.2 million trips.14 In fact, African nations, such as South Africa15, Egypt16, and Zimbabwe17, have all recently been falling over themselves to follow the lead of Mauritius’18 to offer visa-free entry.

Asia – the most popular destination for outbound Chinese travellers, who numbered an estimated 98 million trips to the region in 201519 – just got even more accessible too. South Korea5, Malaysia20, New Zealand21, and Nepal22 have all announced new visa policies to boost their tourist industries.

In the case of South Korea, this market is highly significant as six million tourists from China spent $22 billion last year, accounting for 1.6% of its GDP in 2015.5

South America is making a play for China too. The 16,000-km trip from China just got a little easier to handle too – following Mexico, Peru, and Costa Rica who introduced similar visa policies in 2014, Ecuador23, Chile24, and Colombia25 have all introduced visa-free entry policies for Chinese tourists as well.

Eyes on the prize: tourist spending and property investment

Make no mistake, these policies are not just with tourism spending in mind. Investment from China’s increasingly outward-looking business sectors – which grew 51% y-o-y to 115 deals in Q1 2016 to be worth a total of $82.6 billion26 – and property investors figure prominently in the calculus behind looser visa policies.

To an extent, countries around the world are taking their cue from Spain, Portugal, and other ‘Golden Visa‘ countries who went further than offering visa-free entries by loosening their visa policies in 2013 to offer residency in exchange for property and business investments.

The results have been highly lucrative for agents in Spain and Portugal:

  • Portugal: 3,165 golden visas had been issued up to March 2016, with Chinese nationals accounting for about 80% – bringing in €1.92 billion of investment, of which €1.73 billion has been in the form of property investment.27
  • Spain: Chinese investors made 363 transactions worth a total of €268.4 million euros in 2014 and 2015.28

Rapid impact of visa policy changes

With such wide-ranging visa changes and increasing openness to business from China, governments are laying the foundations for what looks like continued growth in the coming years.

Recent data from the US showed a 68% y-o-y increase in visas issued to Chinese tourists in Dec 2015 and January 2016 following the introduction of a 10-year visa shows that markets are already picking up. This is on top of the 68% surge that happened last year in Dec 2014 and January 2015.

And looking across a wider range of countries, a clear pattern emerges – easier visa policies coincide with an increase in visitors. South Africa and Egypt have seen visitor numbers double at the start of 2016, and hotspots such as the UK and Singapore have seen 20%+ annual growth in tourist arrivals from China following their visa overhauls.

Clearly, despite grand projections about the prospects and potential for outbound investment from China, such data compellingly shows that this market is growing and is already having a transformative effect on markets across the world.

Beyond that, what’s also clear from our survey of recent government policy changes is that countries are increasingly looking to compete with each other for a share of this lucrative market.

And if governments see the opportunity and are taking it seriously, then this clearly indicates that businesses – especially real estate – should too.

Sources: 1. China Internet Watch: 220 million Chinese to travel overseas in 2025; 2. SCMP; 3. Channel News Asia; 4. SCMP; 5. Korea Tourism Organization; 6. The Pie: Australia rolls out SSVF, 10-year visa to China; 7. Daily Mail; 8. Travel Daily Media: Finland targets Chinese visitors; 9. Beijing Times; 10. China Daily; 11. Japan National Tourism Organisation; 12. Huffington Post; 13. Jerusalem Post; 14. Xinhua; 15. Quartz; 16. China Africa; 17. Santa Refelo: Immigration Update; 18. Wikipedia: Visa policy of Mauritius; 19. Goldman Sachs: The Chinese Tourist Boom; 20. Yibada: Malaysia Waives Visa Requirements for Chinese; 21. News Ghana; 22. Kathmandu Post; 23. TeleSurTv: Ecuador Welcomes Chinese Tourists; 24. China Daily; 25. China Daily; 26. Chinese firms set for record M&A; 27. SCMP; 28. Galleon: Spanish Golden Visa and the international citizenship programs 29. US: International Trade Statistics; 30. Destination Canada: Tourism Statistics; 31. Sydney Morning Herald; 32. Bloomberg: Singapore is Unlikely Tourist Haven; 33. China Daily: Visa changes attract Chinese visitors; 34. Radio NZ: Visa-free Fiji; 35. Fiji Sun: A Look at March Visitor Arrivals; 36. ECNS: Tourist boom picks up; 37. UK Statistics;38. Xinhuanet; 39. Travel Gazette – Tourism has immense capacity to generate growth says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, to the first-ever World Conference on Tourism for Development: “Tourism for Peace and Development”, in Beijing today:

I am delighted to greet all the participants of the first World Conference on Tourism for Development. I thank the Government of the People’s Republic of China for hosting this inaugural conference with the World Tourism Organization.

This is the first high-level international meeting on tourism and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the universal, integrated and transformative agenda that aims to spur actions that end poverty and build a more sustainable world over the next 15 years. Three of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — Goal 8 on promoting growth and decent work, SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production, and SDG 14 on the conservation of marine resources — have targets that specifically relate to tourism.

But, tourism cuts across so many different areas of life and involves so many different economic sectors and sociocultural currents that it is connected to the entire agenda. As we begin implementation, this is a crucial moment for you, the leaders of the tourism sector, to commit to this universal agenda for people and planet.

Tourism has immense capacity to generate growth for all nations and it has proven resilient in the face of external shocks. In many least developed countries, tourism is among the top three sources of foreign exchange earnings. It is a highly effective way for many of the world’s poorest countries to take a more active part in the global economy.

When tourism is well-managed, it has tremendous capacity to create decent jobs, provide opportunities for inclusion and education, and contribute to preserving cultural heritage and the environment. Tourism also has an important role in building cross-cultural understanding and fostering peace between highly diverse communities.

Every day, more than 3 million tourists cross borders around the world. Each of them is a potential ambassador to another culture. Tourism can build bridges, dismantle preconceptions and encourage tolerance and curiosity, instead of ignorance and bias.

As we prepare to celebrate 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, I encourage you to make the best possible use of tourism to build a safer, more inclusive, more prosperous and sustainable world. I wish you a fruitful and productive conference. -CruiseOne/Dream Vacations & Cruises Inc. Partner w/Honeymoon Wishes

Home-based travel franchise CruiseOne/Dream Vacations and  host agency Cruises Inc. have formed a strategic partnership with Honeymoon Wishes, a full-service, online honeymoon gift registry. This website makes it easy for travel agents to earn commission when booking every aspect of an engaged couple’s honeymoon, from travel to excursions whether on land or at sea. According to Honeymoon Wishes, the average amount gifted per couple using the Honeymoon Wishes registry is $2,500.

Instead of receiving household appliances, couples can register components of their honeymoon or destination wedding. Friends and family can gift once-in-a-lifetime memories such as upgraded accommodations, a couples’ massage and dinner reservations, or memorable excursions such as swimming with the dolphins, a wine tasting in Tuscany, or a helicopter tour over the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

“This partnership is a win-win for our vacation specialists and for their clients,” said Rosemarie Reed, vice president of marketing for CruiseOne/Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc. “Honeymoon Wishes enables engaged couples to create and organize their honeymoon wish list on a customized website, while their travel agent can easily book and earn commission on excursions and gifts as they are purchased.”

Engaged couples can customize requested gift amounts to ensure that everyone can find a gift or experience that fits their budget. When a wedding present is purchased using Honeymoon Wishes, the couple will receive an online gift announcement with a personalized message from the sender. Customized deluxe gift cards can also be mailed, either directly to the happy couple or to the guest, so that they can be presented at the wedding or shower.

The Honeymoon Wishes partnership is one component of CruiseOne/Dream Vacations’ and Cruises Inc.’s multi-tiered marketing program, which ensures that its franchisees and independent agents are always in front of existing and potential customers. The company boasts several free marketing programs for its network of franchisees and independent agents including an innovative travel video library, an automated social media program and weekly email distributions on behalf of its vacation specialists highlighting consumer promotions, travel tips and more. CruiseOne/Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc. has an invested interest in lead generation to increase brand awareness, generate new clients and drive continuous people to agents’ individual websites. – Visa free travel for Turkish citizens could spell terror disasters for Europe

European countries are at a greater risk of terrorist attack now feel EU leaders with the controversial deal allowing Turkish citizens to travel across the continent without visas.

Those with intentions of causing disturbance will seek Turkish passports according to a European commission report to reach continental Europe as soon as the visa waiver program comes into force.

Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, warned that giving Turkey visa-free travel opportunity is perverse and has compared it to “storing gasoline next to the fire”. He also added that EU will face “populist uprising” if it fails to control migration.

The biometric passports from the end of June will allow 75 million Turkish citizens to enter the Schengen zone for up to 90 days at a time. This decision was part of a hastily assembled deal broken by Brussels to halt the flow of migrants from Turkey to Greece.

However, the European Commission report acknowledges the “increased mobility into the Schengen area of criminals and terrorists who are citizens of Turkey, or who are foreigners based in Turkey.”

Visa free travel deals have been allowed by The EC with Kosovo, Ukraine and Georgia, all these regions are known for their organised crime.

The EU report states, “The proposed visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens travelling to the EU could potentially have an impact on the terrorist risk in the EU in as far as the movement of terrorists of Turkish citizenship to and from the Schengen area is concerned.”

The fingerprints of those who will enter Europe with a visa will be logged in a single database that can be searched by counter terrorism investigators but the deal has removed this extra level of security.

There are speculations that undetected entry from Kosovo which produced 300 fighters in Syria and Iraq and have joined terrorist networks

Kosovo is considered as a high level corrupted crime zone. The breakaway Siberian province also has the dubious distinction of producing the most jihadist terrorists per capita than any other European state. According to EC reports “Visa liberalization could also have an impact on undetected entry into the EU of persons from Kosovo who return from war zones where they had joined terrorist networks.” The destination is known for drug trafficking, facilitation in irregular migration, corruption, money-laundering and fraud, trafficking in human beings, the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons and returning foreign terrorist fighters.

Turkish authorities will be issuing reforms for the Turkish police, judiciary and counter-terrorism apparatus that are pre-condition of the visa deal that will help to mitigate the risk. Training will be imparted on ethical codes of anti-corruption warning the officials that they have to be very cautious while issuing the passport and citizenship papers as they could be sought after by terrorists. As there are high chances that as soon as Turkish citizens will obtain visa-free entry to the EU foreign nationals will obtain Turkish passports and pretend to be Turkish citizens to enter EU visa free by obtaining fraud Turkish citizenship for nefarious operations.

A European Commission spokesperson said that 2,525,000 biometric passports required for travel to the EU had been issued by Kosovo, Georgia and Ukraine and none by Turkey so far. – Chinese tourism investment to reach $306 billion by 2020

According to the latest report from the China National Tourism Administration, Chinese investment in tourism will reach a zenith of 2 trillion Yuan ($306 billion) by 2020. If reports are to be trusted, the present year, is expected to experience a hit of 1.25 trillion Yuan in the tourism investment sector.

The country looks to support its service sectors and tap consumer spending. The fulcrum areas of its hope lies in areas like travel to propel growth amid signs of weaknesses in many areas of the economy. Investment in the sector of travel rose up to 42 percent to top 1 trillion Yuan in 2015. This accelerating promises rewards for firms like travel agent International Ltd, hotelier Shanghai Jinjiang International Travel, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and developer Dalian Wanda Group. Unfortunately, the factory output and retail sales have remain slower in growth than what was expected in April.

The tourism body sounded hopeful as it said that in future think tourism investment has huge potential with hot spots starting to spring up.  Rural tourism, online travel services, cruising as well as sports tourism are the major areas of thrust.

Investment from the private sector accounted for just over 57 percent of money pumped into the sector last year. – Top 10 European Cities Searched by Chinese Buyers


Elsewhere in Europe, notwithstanding the UK, Chinese buyers have increasingly shown interest in newer emerging markets – even in far-flung reaches of Europe, such as Russia.

With the Chinese yuan staying strong against the Euro, we foresee Chinese investor interest to remain strong in Europe. Here are the 10 cities receiving much Chinese love lately.

Berlin (Germany) held steady at the top, while Paris (France) and Athens (Greece) both rose by one spot in rankings to claim the second and third spots.

Big jumpers were Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Valencia (Spain), who both leapt three spots to be fourth and fifth on the list. Meanwhile, Barcelona (Spain) dropped two places to take the seventh spot, while Monaco rose slightly to take the sixth spot.

Interestingly, former second-placed Pasphos (Cyprus) completely slid off the list, as well as former #6 Makarska (Croatia) and former #10 Ayia Napa (Cyprus). These cities were replaced by newcomers Vienna (Austria), Lisbon (Portugal), and Kabanskiy Rayon (Russia).

source: Juwai