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Spain aims to attract more Chinese tourists


10-25-2016 00:57 BJT

Tourists from around the world flock to Spain's coasts in search of sun, sea and sangria. But during the quieter winter months, Spain's tourism revenues drop. Spain now is seeking to reinvent itself as a cultural tourism destination in an effort to attract high-spending Chinese tourists.

More Chinese tourist are shopping in Madrid. In 2015, the city set a tourism record with more than 60 million tourists. Chinese tourists enjoy sightseeing and shopping and Spain wants to promote its rich history and culture to cause these new visitors to spend their Euros.

"Very profitable to have tourists that come from January to December, as the Chinese do during their different holidays," said Rafael Chamorro, Deputy Director, Institute of Tourism of Spain.

"Also because they look for something else instead of sun and beach. For example, to enjoy our inner cities. So, we are very interested on Chinese tourists because they spend a lot, they come for eight to ten days and they also consume other products."

China has been the largest source of outbound tourists in the world since 2012. The World Trade Organization says that more than 120 million Chinese tourists went abroad last year. But just 400,000 visited Spain. So the Spanish government wants to promote Spain in China. Four new direct flights connections from Beijing and Shanghai to Madrid and Barcelona began this year.

"Tourists are looking for the culture experience, gastronomy tourism, shopping tourism, and there are so many multi-tourism activities that are available. That's why the destinations should not only focus on one aspect," said Eun-Ji Tae, representative, WTO Asia-Pacific.

"I think they have to develop the widest spectrum of tourism activities, so that the tourists coming from the new source markets can also enjoy the destination apart from the traditional tourism resources which is sun and beach."

Think tanks in both Europe and China have been studying the travel habits of Chinese tourists. Many of the visitors travel in groups, stay in Europe from eight to ten days and visit about two countries and spend an average of 1,000 euros per trip. The Spanish government aims to attract up to a million Chinese tourists each year to Spain by 2020.

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