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Chinese tourists bring festivity, business to foreign countriesduring holiday season

(Xinhua)  ??  2015-02-25 15:29

BEIJING, Feb. 25-- With more and more Chinese opting to spend their Lunar New Year holiday season abroad, the world has witnessed in the past week an effusive festive atmosphere from Sydney to Rio, and from London to New York, marked not only by illuminations of red lanterns and dragon dance, but also remarkable revenues for local business operators.
 
Despite the perplexity among foreigners about whether to call this Chinese new year the Year of the Goat, the Sheep or the Ram, one thing is clear for them: the Chinese festival has increasingly become an occasion for them to learn about the Chinese festival culture and earn money from visitors.
 
To cater to the rising number of Chinese tourists during the half-month-long Spring Festival holiday season, New York's high-end department store Bloomingdale has put up decorations featuring a giant Chinese coin towering above a blanket of red flowers.
 
The Chinese festival also inspired fashion designers such as Fendi and Burberry, which respectively unveiled a handbag and a wool scarf to mark the start of a new year.
 
Similar arrangements could be observed in many parts of the world during the Spring Festival, signs that the Chinese tourists, now with much deeper pockets thanks to the country's years of economic boom, have made great contribution to the hospitality industry in many countries.
 
According to statistics by Singapore Tourism Board, Chinese tourists account for over half of the total spending by foreign tourists in the island nation, and in 2014 the average spending of a Chinese visitor surged 29 percent to about 1,200 U.S. dollars.
 
Fondly referred to as the "walking wallets," the Chinese tourists also brought 1.9 billion U.S. dollars in tourism revenue for the U.S. state of California in 2013 and the figure was expected to be even higher for 2014 following new visa policies that make multiple visits by Chinese visitors much more easier.
 
Meanwhile in Australia, local tourism agencies have also seen a boom in business transactions during the Chinese Spring Festival holiday season. According to the Australian VIP tourism agency, Chinese tourists' phenomenal purchasing power has brought a sizeable benefit and obvious change for such industries in Australia as tourism, overseas study, auto sales, retail and catering business, and created abundant employment opportunities.
 
Ordinary Chinese people may not know exactly since when their holiday feasts have influenced other countries' revenues, but the foreign producers have long realized the subtle relationship.
 
During the Spring Festival holiday season, Canadian fishermen worked even harder in the north Atlantic Ocean catching lobsters, adding a delicious course for many Chinese families at their reunion dinners during the holiday season.
 
According to Royal Star Foods Ltd., Canada's largest Atlantic lobster processor on Prince Edward Island, its fresh lobster exports to China increased four-fold over the past three years.
 
With wealth accumulation, Chinese tourists are no longer what they were. They prefer now to explore new tourist destinations in distant regions around the world, such as South America, after years of hovering in Southeast Asian countries and Europe for a relatively low-cost and high-quality experience.
 
Argentina has become an important destination for many of those who want to make a visit to the Antarctic. According to Argentina and China Chamber of Commerce, the country receives about 30,000 Chinese tourist arrivals yearly, each of whom spends an average of 5,000 U.S. dollars. And the number is expected to overpass 100,000 annually, if Argentina eases restrictions on tourist vias issued to Chinese visitors.
 
Ernesto Fernandez Taboada, executive director of Argentine-Chinese Chamber of Production, Industry and Commerce, said if Argentine could serve its beef, red shrimp and wine to Chinese people during the Spring Festival holiday season, Argentina's agricultural and marine products exports would be all the more inspiring.
 
Similarly in Brazil, the number of foreign visitors, including Chinese tourists, increased 73 percent during this year's carnival. To attract Chinese tourists and show respect to Chinese immigrants, Brazil's largest city Sao Paulo held a two-day event to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, which has become a traditional celebration in the city.
 
Organizers particularly prepared a number of festival activities, including traditional parades, firework displays, dancing and choir shows, in a bid to popularize Chinese culture in Brazil and provide Chinese-style entertainment to the local population.