Central Asia is not equipped and prepared for getting share from outbound tourism market of China, indicates Tourism Study.
Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Central Asian states can get throbbing clients from China if these countries work effectively and enhance their professional capacity. This was observed in a “Tourism Trends in Central Asia” study conducted by The Region Initiative (TRI) released to media here on Friday July 11.
The study conducted through TRI networking indicates that 97 million Chinese tourists visited foreign countries in year 2013 but did not prefer to visit Central Asian neighbouring countries although travelling to neighbouring Central Asia countries could be cheaper and exciting for Chinese tourists due to cultural, ethnic and historical proximity.
Data collected by TRI indicates that Chinese tour operators got inquiries from groups/individuals but tour operator are shy to sell Central Asian destinations due to many reasons including border crossing difficulties when group/individual wish to travel to any neighbouring Central Asia country from one Central Asian country the group or individual is travelling.
The figures underline the rapid rise in the numbers of Chinese travelling abroad, who numbered just 29 million in 2004 and 97 million in 2013. This trend is still at Upward.
Chinese travellers are also very good at spending and as many as US$102 billion were spent by them overseas in 2012, making them the world’s biggest spenders ahead of Germans and US tourists.
Study indicates that expanding the ranks of China’s middle class is giving a boost to outbound travel as this class his hungry for foreign travel after the country’s decades of isolation in the last century.
Study suggests that tourism authorities of Central Asian countries including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan should do well to enhance their publicity efforts and provide Chinese-language guide services if they want to sell their destinations to Chinese tourists.
Major issues that are hampering growth of Chinese tourists in Central Asian countries include:
Insufficient publicity, a shortage of Chinese-speaking guides as well as complicated visa application procedures.
No good Chinese restaurants in big and small cities and non-availability of Chinese cooks in motels/hotels/guests houses and traditional Sarais in Central Asia. Central Asian tour operators are mostly working to attract Germans, Frenchs and Americans who have totally different mind-set of travelling. Chinese are very particular about their food while Germans, French and Americans eat exotic food of Central Asia and can eat anything like western food etc.
Maximum Chinese tourists are visiting to Kazakhstan but even the number is as low as 250,000 to 300,000 Chinese visitors per year.
There is no production (availability) of Chinese speaking tour guides in Central Asian countries who are able to speak Chinese and only a handful of Chinese travel agencies have itineraries in these countries.
Almost no outbound Chinese company is working full time in selling central Asian countries as destinations and has no routes to Central Asian countries because of very few customers ask about tourism products to those areas, and even fewer end up actually making such a trip.
Lack of infrastructure development is also one factor that has tended to discourage Chinese visitors.
No proper and planned Road shows to create more opportunities and platforms to enable Chinese people to learn about Central Asian products (Destinations/food/culture).
The World Tourism Organisation predicts further increase in overseas trips made by Chinese people in next 5 years.
The Region Initiative (TRI) is a Tri-regional Umbrella of Tourism related organisations. TRI is functioning as a link among three regions—-South Asia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. It offers blended tours packages, consultancy, research, networking of tourism organisations, marketing of small tourism stakeholders, advocate sustainable tourism and ecotourism.