According to data of the 2014 annual subscriber survey of Travelzoo, a travel and entertainment deal providers in Asia: 19% of Chinese travelers say that they would like to go to Italy. The country is ranked 8th in the top 10 of Chinese traveler’s destinations wish list, and is the first European country to appear on this list. Italy is thus overtaking France, Britain, Greece and Switzerland with its high position.
According to Travelozoo Italy is “seen as aspirational and desirable holiday destinations, particularly for the huge emerging middle classes who no longer want guided tours, but instead want relaxing breaks with a touch of culture, good food and luxurious surroundings.”
Here are the reasons why the country is appealing to Chinese tourists.
Italy is known in China for its high end fashion brands. Their products sell very well in the middle kingdom. Last year Prada, one of the most well-known transalpine brand in China, registered an 826 million euros sales turnover.
With that kind of success some Chinese companies decided to invest in Italian fashion. That was the case of the Li & Fung Group who bought the high-end Italian fashion brand Cerruti for $70 million in 2010.
Chinese love eating foreign food and Italian food has a particularly good reputation in the country. Indeed China imported Italian food and beverages for more than 71 billion USD worth. The typical Italian imported products are wine, pasta, olive oil, chocolate ice cream, ham, cheese and mineral water. This trend is on the rise since in the first nine months of 2012, there was already an increase in the imports of 19,6% compared to 2011.
In October 2014, China’s Bright Food Group Co., a Shanghai-based food company, even announced that they would buy a majority stake in the Italian olive oil maker Salov Group.
Appealing to the young generation
Since the launch of the Marco Polo and Turandot programs in the early 2000’s the number of Chinese students enrolling in Italian universities has never stopped increasing. The number of Chinese students in Italy grew from 500 in 2005 to over 14,000 in 2012. This is a strategic way to improve the future China- Italy relations. The good experiences of Chinese students in Italy are helping to promote Italy in China.
A Chinese-friendly country
In 2012, the Italian Embassy in Beijing opened two new offices in order to be able to rapidly process and release more visas in three to five days. During an official trip to China, in June this year, the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced that the visa processing time for Chinese citizens who will soon only take 36 hours. This new processing time will make Italy the fastest European country to release visas for Chinese tourists.
With the Milan’s Expo in 2015, Italy is also making a lot of efforts towards its tourists coming from China. Two main Italian newspapers and publisher companies, started to print publication targeting Chinese travelers. And a campaign to have street signs in Chinese has been launched.
A smart move considering that Chinese tourists are now willing to take more time to get to know the country they are visiting. So that, as the Milan Expo will take place, Italy will provide Chinese tourists with tours to discover the Italian lifestyle in other destinations such as Florence, Tuscany wineries and Venice as well.
So that Italy is turning their well-known Italian lifestyle and passion for good food, wine and beautiful things into its advantage toward Chinese tourists. The country has made a lot of efforts to attract them with visas easier and faster to obtain, services custom-made for them. Smart moves considering that tourism analysts are forecasting an increase of 17% in the Chinese travel budgets.
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