Chile makes bid for more Chinese tourists

Updated: 2015-06-25 03:54

By Andrea Deng in Santiago, Chile(China Daily Latin America)

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Chile makes bid for more Chinese tourists

Javiera Montes (center), under-secretary for tourism of Chile, meets with Panso Ho (left), founder of the Global Tourism Economy Research Center, in Santiago, Chile to discuss efforts to attract Chinese tourists. [Provided to China Daily]

Chile may become a tourism destination for wealthy Chinese visitors if bilateral industry ties can be further developed, diplomats and tourism officials said.

Chile is one of the furthest countries away from China and the round-trip air fare would remain as high as $3,000 no matter which flight route Chinese tourists take, said Liu Rutao, economic and commerce adviser with China's Embassy in Chile. That automatically sets a high bar for the financial status of the people who could afford the trip.

Liu also noted that the unique characteristics of Chile's extremely diversified natural landscape - thanks, in part, to the country's distinctive geographic span of a wide range of latitudes - makes Chile a desirable destination for people looking for adventure and exploring nature, beyond just shopping and sightseeing.

"These kinds of experiences are exactly what the wealthy and more demanding Chinese tourists are looking for," Liu said.

Liu shared his analysis with a 30-member delegation currently visiting Pacific Alliance countries on June 5. The delegates, led by the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre (GTERC), are Chinese business leaders from a wide range of industries, mainly tourism.

Since the economic downturn of 2008, a lot of real estate enterprises in China needed to diversify their portfolios and expand into other industries. Tourism became a sound business choice for many of them, said Wang Ping, chairwoman of the China Chamber of Tourism and a member of the delegation.

Some hotel conglomerates in China are already benefiting tremendously from the growing tourism economy, according to Winnie Chiu, president and executive director of Dorsett Hospitality International, who added that Chinese tourists are "high yield customers".

"Chinese outbound tourists spend more than $200 per day per person and they already exceeded what German tourists spend," Chiu said during the delegates' meeting with Chile's Foreign Investment Committee.

"While Europeans typically spend roughly 50 percent of their traveling expenses on lodging, Chinese tourists spend 12 percent on lodging. That means Chinese tourists not only contribute to hotel occupancy but also to the retail and entertainment sectors."

Martin Pathan, the committee's investment attraction officer, said Chile wants to attract investors in constructing adequate hotels in some of the unique natural landscapes of the country.

Last year Chile received 12,000 Chinese tourists among a total of 3.7 million visitors.