China is poised to become the world’s second-largest tourism market in the next two years, but is the world ready for the flood of Chinese travelers? According to a new study from the Boston Consulting Group, the answer is no.
Chinese consumers, thanks to rising incomes and a bustling economy, are powering a travel boom that’s set to catapult China’s tourism market past Japan’s by 2020, the study says. According to BCG’s projections, China’s combined domestic and international tourism revenues are expected to increase 14% annually for the next 9 years — creating a 5.5 trillion-yuan, or roughly $838 billion, tourism market, up from 1.5 trillion yuan last year – with revenues from outbound Chinese tourism alone expected to grow a whopping 381% over that span.
Despite the eye-popping numbers, the research group says, few companies in or outside the country have equipped themselves to cater to the swelling crowds of Chinese voyagers. Among the most obvious indications of how unprepared the industry is for the coming wave of Chinese tourism, the study says, is the failure of many restaurants, hotels and airports to use Chinese characters on signs and menus—a simple gesture that would help them attract China’s international travelers and keep them coming back.
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