Travel\Popular destinations

Star-studded locations

By Liu Xuan, Zhao Ruinan and Pan Mengqi | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-06 10:16

Star-studded locations

Chinese tourists wait in line to pay at a shopping mall in Florence, Italy, in 2015. [Photo provided to China Daily]

New destinations

Central and Eastern Europe and Russia/Scandinavia have become new tourist destinations in Europe, with the number of visitors in the first half of this year clocking up year-on-year increases of 151 percent and 77 percent respectively, according to a recent report issued jointly by China Tourism Academy, Ctrip and Huayuan Tour.

The report also shows Croatia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Denmark, Russia, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, Finland and Italy as the top 10 markets to have developed at a rapid rate in the first half of 2017, half of them being involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

According to another report released by Lvmama, a travel website, in 2016 the number of Chinese tourists going to Central and Eastern Europe rose 229 percent year-on-year. Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia ranked as the top five fastest-growing destinations for Chinese tourists.

Kazakhstan became a hot-spot for many Chinese fans after young singer Dimash Kudaibergen participated in the singing reality show Singer, produced by Hunan Satellite TV. Some fans said online that they wanted to see Dimash's motherland. The show didn't even film in Kazakhstan.

"I think if a series or show is filmed overseas it will affect local tourism," says Jiang Chuan, a 25-year-old woman who majored in communication. "Programs make connections with foreign countries and they come to an agreement for mutual benefit. If the program has a big audience, the destination can definitely attract a large number of Chinese tourists."

Bigger budgets are a motivation driving production teams to travel abroad. However, people-to-people connectivity is another vital influence.

"Friendship, which derives from close contact between the people, holds the key to sound state-to-state relations," President Xi Jinping said at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May.

People-to-people connectivity is one of the five focus points of cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative. It ranges from tourism to arts, from business travel to educational exchanges, encouraging multiple forms of personal communication between countries which take part in the initiative.

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