Canada pulls out all the stops to woo more Chinese tourists

Updated: 2015-04-15 08:03

By Yang Feiyue(China Daily)

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Chinese outbound tourism to Canada surged nearly 29 percent to 450,000 visitors last year.

And it rose to more than 30 percent in the first two months of this year compared with the same period in 2014, the Canadian Tourism Commission says.

The number of Chinese visitors is expected to further increase since China and Canada started issuing reciprocal multiple-entry visas for business, travel and family visits from March 9, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism Maxime Bernier says. The longest validity for such visas is 10 years.

And the ongoing weakening of the Canadian dollar against the yuan is enticing a stronger interest in the country among Chinese tourists, Bernier says.

Online travel giant Ctrip currently offers a nine-day excursion to Vancouver from Beijing for about 10,000 yuan ($1,600) from April to June.

The Canadian Tourism Commission's President and CEO, David Goldstein, says Chinese often travel to the country for the dual purpose of visiting relatives and enjoying tours.

The country will enhance efforts to cater to Chinese tourists' needs, he says.

And it has staged promotional programs targeting the country.

The commission released a short film featuring Taiwan model and actor Godfrey Gao presenting interesting experiences in Canada on March 31.

It focuses on urban life, food, wine, leisure, culture, arts, festivals, nature, wildlife and outdoor expeditions. It also features travel by train, car and cruise liner.

"We hope the film can open the eyes of Chinese tourists, and satisfy their growing travel requirements and changing hobbies," managing director of the commission's China branch Derek Galpin says.

The commission released a similar film last June.

"(Last year's) film received positive feedback," Galpin says.

More than 22 million people have viewed the 2014 video on major Chinese streaming websites, such as Youku, Pptv, Sohu and LeTV, the tourism commission says.

Authorities have been developing routes targeting Chinese.

The highlight is a 15-day voyage from northwestern Canada's Nunavut to the Arctic Circle. The cruise only runs in August, when the ice clears. Tourists can see polar animals and learn about the Inuit community.

Other routes feature an 11-night Post Canadian Rockies Tour that combines voyages around Vancouver Island to Victoria with inland tours over the Canadian Rockies through Banff and Lake Louise to Calgary.

Another voyage hops between the St. Lawrence River's 1,000 Islands.

In Quebec, the 14-night Snowbird Migration Cruise enables passengers to witness one of nature's greatest ornithological spectacles.

Alberta's tourism bureau has developed 35 routes for Chinese tourists this year, including those through Waterton Lakes National Park, which is celebrated for its biodiversity.

The number of flights between China and Canada is set to increase.

Air China will launch nonstop flights between Beijing and Montreal. China Eastern will debut routes connecting Kunming, Shanghai and Vancouver on June 26.

There are already nonstop flights to Vancouver and Toronto from Shanghai and Beijing.

Air travel takes about 10 hours, marketing director of Ctrip's tourism department Dai Yu says.

Most tourists seeking natural splendor visit during China's Mid-Autumn or National Day holidays.

Canada blazes with color in the fall, when maple leaves shimmer orange and red. And Niagara Falls' Canada side is more magnificent than the United States', she explains.

"Our customers like to drive around the country to enjoy the colorful maples," Dai says.

Many wintertime travelers from China go to ski and see the aurora borealis.

"Seeing the aurora from Yellowknife is a hot new trend," she adds.

Banff National Park is also among Chinese tourists' favorites, she says.

The park's Lake Louise and its backdrop of snowcapped mountains stunned Chen Hua, who moved to Edmonton from Beijing last year.

He enjoyed watching such wildlife as Pere David's deer and rabbits.

And he enjoyed seeing the golden and crimson maple leaves when he toured Toronto last autumn.

The natural environment and national culture has made Chen's time in the country wonderful, he says.

"The air is fresh. I don't have to worry about pollution. I can drink directly from the tap," he says.

"And Canadians are friendly and polite."

 Canada pulls out all the stops to woo more Chinese tourists

Ascene along the St. Lawrence River inCanada. The number ofChinese visitors is expected to further increase sinceChina andCanada started issuing reciprocalmultipleentry visas fromMarch 9. Provided To China Daily

(China Daily USA 04/15/2015 page07)