Airports around world work to improve Chinese services

Updated: 2016-09-23 10:10

By Zhao Lei(China Daily)

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Beijing Capital International Airport, the largest air hub in the country, is helping foreign airports translate signs and train their staffs to deliver services in Chinese to improve the travel experience for Chinese tourists.

Han Zhiliang, the airport's general manager, said at the Fifth Beijing Global Friend Airports CEO Forum on Thursday that his company has helped the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris, Incheon International Airport in South Korea and several airports in Thailand to check and correct signs written in Chinese.

Beijing Capital has also been assisting Finland's Helsinki Airport and Germany's Frankfurt Airport with their efforts to improve services in Chinese.

Moreover, exchanges have been undertaken between Beijing Capital employees and their counterparts in Munich and Frankfurt, Germany; Geneva, Switzerland; and Havana, Cuba, Han said. Such programs enable foreign airport workers to better understand Chinese passengers and Chinese cultures, he added.

Airports around world work to improve Chinese services

In October, Helsinki Air-port in Finland will send several employees to work for three weeks at Beijing Capital, he said.

Sun Xiaoyi, deputy head of the Beijing airport's service department, said a lot of foreign airports have reached out to ask for help with Chinese language services.

Having witnessed large numbers of Chinese travelers, airports around the world are striving to enhance local appeal to Chinese air-lines and travelers. Signage in Chinese has become part of the basic infrastructure, and many foreign airports have developed Chinese websites or mobile phone applications.

Chinese tourists spent $215 billion during trips overseas in 2015, accounting for 17 per-cent of all overseas consumption by travelers around the world, according to a report released by the World Tour-ism Cities Federation on Tuesday.

The United States, Japan, South Korea and Britain saw the biggest increase in Chinese visitors in 2015.

"Chinese travelers would find it convenient and comfortable to use the facilities at Finnish airports because they have a lot of Chinese-speaking employees, along with many digital tools designed for Chinese visitors, including a mobile phone application capable of recognizing different Chinese dialects," said Kari Savolainen, CEO of Finland's state-owned airport operator Finavia.

Winfried Hartmann, senior vice-president of sales and customer service at Frankfurt Airport, said the airport is developing a mobile phone application that can automatically trans-late German signs into Chinese.

"In addition, we will strengthen our collaboration with Beijing Capital to improve our service for Chinese travelers," he said.

(China Daily 09/23/2016 page5)