1% of the tourists who arrived in Spain in 2019 came from China. The figure seems derisory when compared to the 82 million international tourists who have arrived in 2022 or the 169 million Chinese who left their country for other destinations in the world. But not because they are few do they stop offering opportunities, even becoming a key niche for the hotel sector, which sees in them an opportunity to seasonally adjust the occupation.
Proof of this is that their presence has almost doubled since 2016, when there were 375,000, until the pandemic arrived. Spanish culture and gastronomy attracted almost 700,000 visitors from the Asian giant in 2019. After three years locked up, the end of the policy The Chinese government has eliminated the limitation of seats available on international flights and warned the number of routes, in addition to resuming the granting of entry visas to China.
According to Turespaña, the Chinese visitor’s preferences include destinations that combine art, culture, shopping, gastronomy and urban tourism, while denying the “sun and sand” so characteristic of our country. This differential factor allows chains to fill their stores in cities that are not on the coast, even during the high summer season.
Added to this is its significant economic capacity —the Chinese middle class continues to grow—, the Spanish hotel sector has already focused on these visitors as a way of extending the good performance of tourism and increasing revenue. The McKinsey&Co consultation already located an increase in tourist demand by the Chinese population when its government lifted the first restrictions derived from the covid in 2020, although they mainly affected domestic tourism and the taste for remote destinations and deduct natures in groups.
While this return is confirmed, the Spanish market players assume its return with some caution. Jesús Sobrino, CEO of Palladium Hotel Group, was also optimistic about the possible improvement in results that the return of Chinese tourists to Spain would bring. His return would allow the so-called “champagne effect” to be maintained, which refers to the euphoria when traveling by citizens as a result of the end of sanitary restrictions in Europe, a fact that has led the company to recover and improve its pre-pandemic figures.
Paradores’ future plans also involve incorporating this type of tourist into its client portfolio. The president of the company, Pedro Saura, unveiled the new 2023-2028 strategic plan at Fitur, where the Asian market seemed crucial to achieve the objectives of seasonally adjusting and increasing occupancy -from the current 67% to 80%-, as well as increasing sales up to 412 million in five years. The public hotel will carry out promotional and strategic marketing campaigns to attract customers in Asian economies, with China as the main focus.
As already happened in Spain, it is to be expected that the Chinese will change their habits as a consequence of the social distancing in which they have lived for the last three years. The directors of the tourist offices in Beijing and Canton, María Llinares and Ana Lafuente, revealed some of the trends to be expected at a meeting organized by Turespaña. Among them they pointed out that the reopening of international tourism in China “gradually”, with a foreseeable increase in individual tourism, although organized trips to Spain will resume “imminently”.