Everyone's after the Chinese ... Prince Charles is calling ... Atlantic City gamble
When U.S. President Barack Obama was in Florida a few weeks ago to talk about boosting tourism to his country, he mentioned Brazil and China as key markets.
When Toronto talks about hiking its tourism numbers, China often comes up.
And, this morning, there's an interesting item in the news in Australia about how the Aussies are ramping up their efforts to lure more Chinese tourists.
The Aussies, in fact, have a 10-year marketing plan for China and it paid off last year, with a 15 per cent increase in visits (up to 558,000). But those efforts are geared mostly to the big three cities: Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, which are believed to have something like 38 million residents, and now the nation's tourism folks are doing research into China's so-called "secondary cities," many of which are larger than New York City.
The News in Australia said the research is being done on 13 secondary cities, including Shenzen (next to Hong Kong, with 13 million people), Tianjin (12 million-plus), Suzhou (11.7 million) and Hangzhou (8.7 million).
First of all, it still amazes a westerner to see so many huge Chinese cities I know very little - if anything - about. I've heard of all the above but couldn't begin to tell you where most of them are in China. I remember talking with a tour guide I had in Shanghai a couple years ago. I asked him where he was from and he said, "Oh, it's a small village a couple hours from here." I asked him how large it was and he said, "Only 100,000 or so." And that's considered a small village.
The second thing that occurs to me on a Monday morning is that it's all well and good to pursue the Chinese market, but not EVERYONE can lure 50 per cent more Chinese tourists next year. Someone is going to be disappointed if they think they can keep ratcheting up numbers. The Chinese market is immense but there still are restrictions on folks who want to travel outside the country, and the economy in China isn't in such great shape these days.
PRINCE CHARLES WANTS YOU
The Prince of Wales has agreed to be the patron for the first ever English Tourism Week, which takes place this week. Operators across England, including theme parks, stately homes and local museums, are running special activities to help promote English tourism.
It's a big year for England, what with the London Olympics this summer and 2012 being the Queen's Diamond Jubilee; a celebration of her 60th year on the throne.
A NEW BOARDWALK EMPIRE?
Atlantic City has seen some hard times. But they're betting on a huge new complex to make a difference.
A new, $2.4 billion complex called the Revel is set to open early next month at the southern end of the Boardwalk in the New Jersey city. USA Today describes it as an "ultra-contemporary, curvy glass-and-steel oceanfront complex " and says it's the most costly resort ever in Atlantic City.
It's hoped the resort will bring in a new, upscale clientele. Some 500 of the total of 1,898 rooms (not quite a boutique hotel) will open April 2, with floor to ceiling windows of the town made infamous lately by the fabulous show Boardwalk Empire with Steve Buscemi. There's a "plush casino with burlesque stage and electronic table-game pit, plus a party pool run by a Las Vegas entertainment group," USA Today said.