Cyprus Makes a Bid for Chinese Tourists

Cyprus Makes a Bid for Chinese Tourists

The people of China are on the move like never before. In 2002, only 16.6m left the country. But by 2011 that had risen to 70.3m and is expected to rise again towards 90m in 2012, up some 17%. The world is alive to the possibilities of attracting cash-rich Chinese travellers through their doors, with dozens of countries scrambling to lay on the best possible service in order to boost business and set up a steady stream of new visitors.

In October 2011, it was estimated that Chinese shoppers spent more than £2bn abroad in what they call October Golden Week, the seven-day national holiday. That money went on luxury goods such as perfume, watches and expensive clothing and went firmly against the worldwide trend of austerity. It was the sniff the rest of the world needed and now the race is on.

Cyprus is among those nations pushing hardest. The government believes it can attract 100,000 Chinese tourists in 2013. It is a bold target but it if Cyprus can pull it off, it is one that could benefit the country and its many businesses for decades to come.

What is Cyprus Doing to Attract These Chinese Tourists?

The first thing it has done, very wisely, is to invite Chinese tour operators and those from Hong Kong to the island to show them exactly what they have to offer. This is, after all, an island a rare beauty, of calm, secluded bays all bathed in warm sunshine. This is an island that provided many of the locations for the Ridley Scott blockbuster Gladiator and one that boasts a varied array of high end shops and restaurants. With that in mind, Mala is in talks to host the final episode of one of China’s most-watched TV shows and if that fails they are also in discussions about organising the Miss Asia beauty pageants on the island.

What Will it Mean for Businesses in Cyprus? 

In theory, it is fantastic news. If the island nation can hit its target of 100,000 new tourists from China, hotels will be full, restaurants brimming with customers and shops counting the extra money in their tills. Cyprus is particularly keen to attract a certain type of Chinese tourist, those with disposable cash to spend and that group have shown over the years that they will spend their money freely on high-end clothes and luxury goods, meaning that businesses that fall into that category are likely to feel a financial boost that the rest of Europe has been unable to given them in recent years. Businesses now hold their collective breathe and wait to see if the Chinese invasion begins as hoped.

Are There Any Downsides for These Businesses?

On the face of it, no. But there are always things to consider if your business to consider it is about to grow. Insurance is a one such factor and something many businesses are now reassessing. Quotezone business insurance, for instance, helps protect shops, hotels and other businesses as well as ensuring business continuation even if you have a burst water pipe or another setback. With Maltese businesses expecting increased numbers through the door, liability insurance is also something they are bolstering. If a small firm suffers a claim from someone who injures themselves with a trip or a fall it could prove extremely damaging for the business, there are too many stories to ignore when it comes to this.

What Are the Maltese Doing to Prepare? 

Hotels, airports, shops and restaurants are busy recruiting workers who speak Mandarin to make it easy as possible to communicate with the expected influx. With the recession biting as deeply as ever in Europe and North America, Malta is going all out to make sure they get repeat tourists once they bring them through their border for the first time.

Is it an Easy Journey to Make? 

At this stage there are no direct flights between Malta and China, which is an obvious drawback for anyone considering making the trip. But Malta are already one step ahead and talks, at the very highest level, are ongoing to iron out these issues and make it as easy as possible to make the journey.

What About Visas? 

Malta is so keen to ensure they snap up these tourists that Commerce Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis has making moves alongside deputy governor of Chinese Henan province, Kong Yufang, to ensure that it is easier for Chinese visitors to acquire visas. Yufang and Sylikiotis believe their relationship will help to bind the countries together and create more opportunities to work together on tourism.

What About the Rest of the World?

Countries not known for their tourism, such as Gambia, Kazakhstan and Pakistan, are among those working hard to improve their marketing to get a slice of the pie. To be a serious holiday destination these days you need to have come up with a plan tailormade for China. If you haven’t you are missing out on the potential deluge of tourists and money.

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