you check in to a US hotel, you may be greeted by a Mandarin-speaking concierge.
It’s just one of the ways the US tourism industry is preparing for an influx of
April 2013 report by the UN World Tourism
Organization, 100 million Chinese will be travelling abroad by 2015 – up from
10 million in 2000 and 83 million in 2012 – thanks to rapid urbanisation, a
booming economy, rising disposable incomes and a relaxation of government
controls on foreign travel.
have also become the world’s top tourism spenders, dropping more cash overseas than
even Germans and Americans, formerly the most deep-pocketed.
tourists spent $102 billion on international tourism in 2012 (compared to close
to $84 billion for both Germans and American tourists), 40% more than in 2011,
according to the report – a remarkable rise. And many of them are setting their
sights on US shores, where an admired iconic culture and cheap luxury goods
As such, the
US tourism industry, sensing a burgeoning market, has responded to cater to the
lucrative new tourist.
their cue from European hotels, which offer such culturally conscious
amenities as Chinese
breakfasts, Mandarin-language signs and Chinese concierges, US hotels are
working to make Chinese guests more comfortable.
hotel group, for example, sends its sales representatives to China for a crash
course in local culture, USA
Today reports. Its US employees are taught basic Mandarin phrases such as “hello”
and “thank you”.
hotels feature Chinese meals and their lobbies often display oranges and
tangerines, a sign of good luck.
Starwood group, which owns the Sheraton, Westin and W brands, has responded to
Chinese guests with in-room tea kettles, slippers, translated restaurant menus,
on-site translation services and comfort food such as congee (rice porridge) and noodles.
And in New
York City, a favoured destination due to its iconic image and excellent
shopping, the Marriott
Marquis has even replaced room numbers on the 44th floor with
names, because the number four is considered bad luck in Chinese culture. Room
4444, for example, is now called the Imperial Suite.
sector is also responding. High-end stores such as Tiffany,
a world-renowned jeweller, and luxury watch retailer Tourneau are
catering to Chinese tourists with Mandarin-speaking sales staff, Chinese size
charts and visits by sales reps to China to update tour operators on their US retail