Last year, Canada welcomed more than 87,000 Chinese tourists to our shores
— an increase of 37 per cent over the previous year.
Canadian officials predict those numbers will triple
once we get full Approved Destination Status (ADS).
THE CHINESE ARE COMING!
The Chinese government is nervous that many of their tourists
may not leave Canada once they arrive.
Sometimes things happen in our world today that Orwell didn't describe in 1984. One of those things is the population take-over of Oceania by Eastasia. Orwell said that the inhabitants of the three Super-States would be self-contained within their own boundaries. He didn't say that the peoples of Eastasia would move to Oceania. In this way we are actually going beyond Orwell's imaginings. ~ Jackie Jura
China deal is worth the wait
Could take a year to get full ADS status
by Marc Atchison, Toronto Star, Feb 3, 2005
"The Chinese are coming! The Chinese are coming!" That's what Canadian tourism officials were enthusiastically shouting from the highest Beijing pagodas a few weeks ago when Prime Minister Paul Martin announced that our country had finally been granted Approved Destination Status (ADS) by the Chinese. Okay, when can we expect the horde of Chinese tourists to start arriving? Well, not as soon as we had first hoped. In fact, Canadian tourism officials now tell me it could take another year or even longer before all the "I's" are dotted and the "T's" crossed on an agreement that will eventually see the Chinese allow more outbound tourist traffic to Canada. It will be well worth the wait.
The Chinese are the nouveaux riches of tourism. They have lots of pent-up travel enthusiasm and their growing middle class will soon have lots of vacation money to spend in destinations that have been, until now, off-limits. Do the math. Even if 1 per cent of the 1.5 billion Chinese get to travel over the next few years, that adds up to about 15 million tourists. Don't kid yourself. Canada is not alone in trying to woo the Chinese. So far, more than 60 countries have been granted ADS status and by the end of 2005, that number could mushroom to 90, according to Chinese sources.
While touring Germany a few years ago, I saw firsthand the positive impact Chinese tourism can have on a country. We were visiting the medieval city of Trier just a few months after Germany had been granted full ADS status and the narrow streets of the UNESCO World Heritage Site were jammed with Chinese tourists. "They (the Chinese) are now the largest block of tourists coming to Trier," our guide that day informed me. Trier, incidentally, was the birthplace of Karl Marx, the father of communism. And the Chinese, it seems, favour visiting places where people they admire once called home.
Goodness, does that mean Gravenhurst will be more popular with the Chinese than, let's say, Banff? Could be, since the Ontario hamlet is where Canada's best-known revolutionary and hero to the Chinese, Dr. Norman Bethune, was born. The birth home of the good doctor, who worked with Mao's Communist forces in the late '30s and saved many lives with his innovative mobile blood bank units, is already considered a shrine to the Chinese.
Another important fact is that Canada will be the first North American destination to be blessed with ADS status. That gives us a large advantage over Mexico and the United States to impress the Chinese with our North American lifestyle. Canadian tourism officials are already making a strong case with the Chinese that Canada is the place where they should be spending their tourist dollars. The Canadian Travel Commission (CTC), the federally-funded agency that promotes tourism on our behalf around the globe, has hired a Beijing-based manager to promote us in the potentially lucrative Chinese market. He'll work out of the group's newly opened offices in the Chinese capital. According to Pierre Gauthier, the CTC's executive director for the Asia-Pacific region, Canada will also be very visible at tourist trade shows in China — especially at the huge Beijing Travel Mart slated for November. Last year, Canada welcomed more than 87,000 Chinese tourists to our shores — an increase of 37 per cent over the previous year. Those visitors, according to officials, pumped $150 million into Canada's tourism sector. Gauthier and other Canadian officials predict those numbers will triple once we get full ADS status. "China is such a huge market for us," said Gauthier from his Ottawa office. "With their growing middle class, the potential for us (Canada) is just tremendous.
"The Chinese have always had a great fondness for Canada. They love our open spaces, our national parks, our culture and our modern cities," said Gauthier. The ADS agreement only governs group tours to Canada and a strict set of guidelines set down by the Chinese must be agreed to before any country gets the official stamp of approval. The Chinese reserve the right to approve the tour operators, both at home and in Canada, who will handle their outbound groups. "That is just one of the reasons these negotiations take time," said Gauthier. Another, according to sources, is that the Chinese are nervous that many of their tourists may not leave Canada once they arrive. In fact, according to sources, that issue may become a major stumbling block to any agreement. Ping Huang, the director of tourism for China in Canada, said "a working schedule has been ironed out," between the two countries, but agreed it could take some time before final approval is given.
"This is just such a positive for our industry," said Randy Williams, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, which represents thousands of businesses with ties to the tourist industry. Annie Tsu, executive vice president of Tour East Holidays, the only Canadian tour operator who has offices in China at the present time and a company that could benefit from its expertise of moving tourists between Canada and China, said the fact the both sides have set a working schedule is significant and that "all good things come to those who wait." After coping with SARS and all the other ills that Canada's tourism sector has had to deal with over the past few years, the ADS news couldn't have come at a better time. It has taken five years of hard bargaining to finally be recognized by the Chinese. We can surely wait another year for the agreement to be signed.
Chinese property hunters to raid USA. Financial Times, Dec 5, 2008
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