Finally, it's official: The Tourism World Cup tour has moved to Asia after decades of German dominance in travel dollars spending, but what does this mean for international hotels?.
Of course, after reading this message all my flags hang at half-mast: Germans are no more Tourism World Leaders since last year. So what? Non-patriots among hotel guests might even breathe in relief; finally not as many sun loungers around the pool, which were already reserved at 7am with a bath towel.
And many a hotel manager would be, perhaps, happy to have to take in the future fewer complaints of Central Europeans. You'all breathed too early: Of course Germans do travel (and reserve sun loungers around pools as well as pour out complaints) no less than in previous years. But they were simply overtaken - by whom?
By the Chinese! What for years in marketing seminars in whispers doing the rounds is now official: Over USD 110 billion the citizens of the People's Republic of China in 2012 spend during travels. That's a whopping 20 percent more than last year. Congratulations to the new tourism world champion!
During 2000 some ten million Chinese traveled abroad, but eight years later there were already to 40 million. There is no end to it. Recent studies suggest that China's outbound tourism is growing in the next five years, a similar growth as in the past, and all other nations will be far behind. But what does this mean for the tourism industry and in particular the hotel industry?
"Inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere have become accustomed to come second in the future", a major German newspaper speculated, given the booming tourism industry in China - because the Chinese were known all over the world well for spending frequently and in high dimensions. In neighboring countries such as Singapore and Thailand, services are adjusted to cater for the influx. Since our last trip to Asia dates back ten years, we can not reflect with own eyes.
But if it's like this: Should hoteliers react for example in introducing a pre-check-in for people with a Chinese passport? Such a proposal may sound bizarre, but if you read the strange action catalogs and behavioral codes that are circulating in the Western tourism industry, you will not be astonished by even more strange ideas. "Chinese people are not Japanese", a prestigious industry magazine provides in its editorial on the subject laid before. The author "proved" his thesis by "the fact that they are more sophisticated than Japanese". Aha. And: The new tourists "prefer modern hotels with large, prestigious lobby." It's surprising how easy it is to get 1.4 billion people under one umbrella.
"Hoteliers have important do's and don'ts of exercise," a renowned sinologist and tour operators remarked recently in an interview. This would include not to decorate any room in white (the color of mourning) or yellow (symbol of falsehood) and Chinese did not please the 4th floor or quartering in Room 4 (4 as unlucky number) - just as you certainly will not check in an American to Room 13.
In return, a Chinese "always will appreciate" an electric kettle and tea bags in the room. However, the maid must not be surprised when the guests from the Far East also will take use of it to cook their instant noodles they brought with them from home. In the restaurant the chef should be prepared that the Chinese audience might not order any wine, but help themselves from their private brandy bottle freely they even did carry personally into the location.
Quite possible that regularly in western hotel chains training seminars, "O God, there is a Chinese in our house!" take place - including common Chopstick training. But, these are generalizations of tourists at its best positive racism and most give rise to an industry that takes refuge in platitudes. A few signs with Chinese characters and chopsticks in the hotel restaurant and the Chinese come in records? There is just a little doubt.
But still better than unpolished authentic original racism, as it last autumn, a French hotelier put it: The Paris luxury house "Zadig Hotel", associated with the premium fashion brand and to open in 2014, has long been the subject of interested reporting by fashion media. In an interview with a women's magazine the owner Thierry Gillier stated clearly the preferred audience: "We will select our guests. Our home will not be open to Chinese tourists for example. "All the more embarrassing because the associated fashion label Zadig et Volt Aries also maintains a store in Hong Kong.
Not all Europeans are thankfully so xenophobic: "500 million Chinese who want to explore Europe," painted our colleague Oliver, a tourism marketing professional, as a scenario. That this prediction a bit exaggerated and Europe itself has no more than 500 million people, expressed his confidence is not shaken. "No problem: every European should be hosting a Chinese!" So let them come!
As we mentioned earlier mentioned, our experience with China has been marginal - we would be happy if hoteliers could give us your feedback!
How have you adjusted to the new tourism world champion from China? Email us (top left) to let us know and your comments will be added below the article.This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.Roland Wildberg is Travel Writer and Correspondent based in Berlin, Germany. He started as an Editor for the National daily 'Die Welt' (tourism section), later on switched to a freelanced career and nowadays mainly publishes on the Web. Observing the hospitality industry always has fascinated him as it looks like the perfect combination of sleeping and writing – work-live-balance as its best.
Roland also heads the annual 4Hoteliers ITB Berlin news micro-site journalist and video/photo teams. For more info: www.4Hoteliers.com/itb