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Spain aims to attract more Chinese tourists


10-25-2016 00:51 BJT

Tourists from around the world flock to Spanish coasts in search of sun, sea and sangria. But during the quieter winter months, Spain's tourism revenue drops. Now the country is seeking to reinvent itself as a cultural tourism destination in a bid to attract high spending Chinese tourists.
It's more than just the sun, sand and shopping that draws Chinese tourists. They also enjoy the Spanish cultural heritage, gastronomy and landscape.
Along with France and the United States, Spain is a big player in the tourism market both in terms of the number of visitors and in tourism revenue.

But Spain wants to become an all year destination, not dependant on people searching sun and sangria.

"We want to diversify our tourism. It's very profitable to have tourists that come from January to December, as the Chinese do during their different holidays. Also because they look for something else instead of sun and the beach. For example, to enjoy our inner cities," said Rafael Chamorro, deputy director of Institute of Tourism of Spain.

The Spanish government is promoting Spain in China.

Four new direct flights, from Beijing and Shanghai to Madrid and Barcelona, began this year.

And, the Chinese Embassy in Spain has some suggestions for attracting more Chinese.

"In order for more Chinese tourists to come to Spain, the safety issues are an aspect that both governments should work on. For example, there are a lot of luggage, financial assets and identity documents that are being stolen. This is a big problem that concerns Chinese tourists. Another one is safety. Safety in transportation and when it comes to accommodations. We think these two are aspects that the governments of both countries can work together to improve this," said Liu Wenqiu, cultural attache of Chinese Embassy in Spain.

The World Tourism Organization which is based in Madrid, says there is great potential for growing Chinese tourism.

"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. 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," said Eun-Ji Tae, representative of World Tourism Organization Asia-Pacific.

According to TurEspana, Chinese tourists usually stay in Europe for over a week and visit about two countries. The Spanish government aims to attract up to a million Chinese tourists each year to Spain by 2020.

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