x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

China tourists instructed to behave

Chinese tourists, who have been flooding global destinations, including the Emirates, have been asked by a top Communist Party official to behave when abroad.

The Emirates is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Chinese tourists.
The Emirates is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Chinese tourists.
Chinese tourists, who have been flooding global destinations, including the Emirates, have been asked by a top Communist Party official to behave when abroad.

Steps should be taken to project the good image of Chinese tourists, Wang Yang, one of the country's four vice-prime ministers, pointed out in a report in the Community Party newspaper, People's Daily.

Mr Yang mentioned talking loudly and spitting in public as among the unacceptable behaviours, according to a report in the British newspaper The Guardian.

In Singapore and some other countries, spitting in public is illegal and talking loudly is more a matter of time and place, such as not doing so at museums and galleries, says Ian Michael, a professor of marketing at Zayed University.

"Tour agents and guides need to spell this out clearly to the groups and individuals," he said.

During his stint with the global tour operator SOTC-Kuoni where he was a senior executive who worked his way up from the bottom, "part of my job down the pecking order was to advise groups of tourists from India about dos and dont's on their holiday," he says.

The Emirates is an increasingly popular destination for Chinese tourists. The country is Abu Dhabi's seventh-largest source market.

Last year, there was a 28 per cent rise in Chinese travellers to Dubai over the previous year with 300,000 visiting the emirate, according to Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

The number of visitors from China to Abu Dhabi increased 76 per cent between January and November last year.

The Chinese tourists spent an average of Dh4,092 per person per visit to the UAE.

While tourists' behaviour abroad often reflects their own culture and social mores, this often adds to the stereotypes, tourism academics say.

"On a global level we should not focus on one national grouping and ponder whether it should behave better when abroad or not," says Marcus Stephenson, an associate professor of tourism management at Middlesex University Dubai.

"The social science of tourism informs us that regardless of people's ethnicity or culture, many tourists logically travel around in their own 'environmental bubbles', secure in the knowledge that they can at least express an element of themselves while on holiday."

In March, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reported that a group of Chinese tourists were boycotting the Maldives because of reports that a hotel failed to provide electric kettles to guests.

On Chinese social media, the move was said to have been influenced by the fear that guests would use the kettles for making  noodles and forgo buying food from the hotel.

All holiday destinations should ideally try to encourage tourists to enjoy an authentic experience when abroad, Mr Stephenson says.

"It is important that destinations find a mutual balance between understanding the needs and travel habits of Chinese tourists on the one hand and encouraging these tourists to experiment with other cultures and ways of life on the other," he says.

 

ssahoo@thenational.ae