Text: | Print|

Europe awaits more visitors from China

2014-04-01 11:00 China Daily Web Editor: qindexing

The number of Chinese tourists traveling to Europe this year is expected to surge, thanks to loosened visa application procedures and an increase in the number of tour packages provided, a tourism expert said.[Special coverage]

European destinations have always attached significance to Chinese visitors, and as tourism authorities in European countries further facilitate visa application procedures, it is believed more Chinese tourists will flock to the continent, said Yang Jinsong, a professor at the China Tourism Academy who focuses on international tourism.

"Many European countries have further removed the obstacles in visa procedures, including reducing the application time and simplifying the material that tourists must submit to the consulate," Yang said. "No one wants to be left behind in carving up China's economic pie."

It is believed more tourists will visit France, Germany, Belgium and other European destinations over the next several years, he said.

Figures from the academy show that more than 3.47 million Chinese tourists visited European countries in 2013, an 11 percent increase from 2012. Yang said he also expects double-digit growth this year.

President Xi Jinping's visit to Europe will also help promote the relationship between China and the European countries and make traveling to Europe easier for Chinese tourists, Yang said.

France has shortened its visa application process for Chinese applicants to attract more of the country's tourists, according to the France Tourism Development Agency.

In addition to reducing the processing time for travel documents from 10 working days to no more than 48 hours, Chinese visitors can also go to the consulate closest to their residence, instead the place where their hukou, or urban residence permit, was granted, the agency said.

Jacques Pellet, minister counselor of the French Embassy in China, told China Daily the changes are aimed at luring more tourists from China.

Chinese visitors applying for visas will also be exempted from providing English and French translations of most of their documents, other than the employment certificate.

Italy and Belgium have also streamlined their visa procedures targeting Chinese tourists.

Tourists applying for a visa to the European countries for the first time will also be exempted from an interview.

Yang said it's a general trend that European countries will gradually loosen their visa policies to attract more Chinese tourists.

Tour packages to European countries have become the top priority of many tourists, according to Caissa Travel Agency.

Yang said Chinese tourists heading to Europe also tend to stay longer at a single destination. In France, for example, many visitors tend to spend one or two weeks at a chateau or a local village.

According to Qi Yong, head of press and public relations for the France Tourism Development Agency, theme tours are very popular among Chinese tourists, including wine tasting events, chateau visits, shopping sprees and honeymoon trips.

"Many people come to Nice, Cannes or Paris for a week or two just to enjoy the wine, explore the chateau or relax on the beach," she said.

Yang said the countries are also providing a more convenient travel environment for Chinese tourists, including setting up signs in Chinese and preparing hot water at hotels.

"In the past, when asking for directions at a foreign destination, Chinese visitors could only express themselves using body language, due to the lack of services designated for Chinese tourists," he said. "But more attractions and sites worldwide are coming up with road signs in Chinese."

With the number of Chinese outbound tourists skyrocketing year after year, countries worldwide have started eyeing the huge potential market, Yang said.

"No one wants to be ignored in sharing the growing purchasing power of Chinese tourists," he said.

Comments (0)
Most popular in 24h
  Archived Content
Media partners:

Copyright ©1999-2018 Chinanews.com. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.