In January-September 2016 tourist flow of people from China travelling to Russia without visas has increased by 40% compared to the same period of 2015 and reached 670’000 people. Travel to Chinese tourists without visas became possible in 2000, when Russia and China agreed on visa-free entry for tourist groups of 5 to 50 people for a period of 15 days.
According to Travel Association “World without borders” tours with a visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg are the most popular among Chinese tourists: 320’000 Chinese tourists choose such destinations. More than 286’000 Chinese have a rest in Primorye, the Amur region, Khabarovsk and TRANS-Baikal territories, as well as in the Jewish Autonomous region.
In preparation for such an influx of visitors from China, Russian restaurants, hotels and museums are adapting the China Friendly program, it is now available in 13 regions of the country. China-Friendly provides adaptation of the service standards in the institutions in national cultural and linguistic characteristics of the Eastern guests. However, some problems in this area remain unresolved: in the Russian tourism market is experiencing an acute shortage of specialists with knowledge of the Chinese language. For this reason, today thanks to the efforts of the Association “World without borders”, Association of guides-interpreters, tour guides and tour managers is created a Board of Trustees, which will prepare such personnel.
“E Vesti” tried to find out what are the characteristics of Chinese tourists.
When we contacted the PR-Department of the company ALEAN working with Chinese guests, PR expert Elena Turkina said: “As a rule, [Chinese tourists] are requested hotels of four star category, a lot of water, food which is organized mainly in Chinese restaurants. Sightseeing standard are asked too. In addition, groups are different, for someone it is important to have the opportunity for shopping (shopping), for some groups it doesn’t matter. In General, we didn’t see any distinctive features of the Chinese tourists.”
However, other companies are often faced with some of the highlights for visitors from China as an individual tourist group. Let’s name some of them.
Usually, Chinese tourists are traveling in large groups and behave very lively. Therefore, the organization of the tourist route for large groups of Chinese visitors travel companies take into account these features. So, according to the Association of tour Operators, “a tour company in St. Petersburg tend to plan their tours so as not to interfere with Chinese groups. Otherwise tourists will not see anything and will not take pictures.”
Besides the movement of tourists and there is a national cuisine that is radically different from Russian. Like any tourist, a Chinese traveler arrived in another country will look for comfortable and courteous service that implies the presence of Chinese dishes. Due to the fact that Chinese and European (Russian cuisine) have little in common, usually the Chinese tourist order Chinese cuisine in any country. That is why standard China Friendly is now actively promoted among the Russian public catering establishments.
As mentioned above, the language issue is the main stumbling block in mutual understanding between Chinese and foreign service companies. Therefore, for the organization that supports the Chinese guests, it is important to have a professional, who knows the Chinese language, but if it’s a restaurant, it should have a menu in Chinese.
According to the Association of tour Operators, “the most popular among tourists from China are of 3-star and 4-star hotels (28 and 29%, respectively). Hotels category 5 stars attracts 17% of respondents…in addition, almost 60% of Chinese tourists when choosing a hotel pay special attention to the possibility to pay with China UnionPay cards, as well as free Wi-Fi in the hotel.” In addition, “tourists from China pay attention to the availability of food Chinese Breakfast tea set in room, electrical sockets or adapters that fit the standard of the PRC, as well as Slippers”.
In conclusion, once again let the main points that are important to consider when welcoming and serving Chinese tourists in Russia:
- The presence of a specialist with knowledge of Chinese language, as well as materials and signs in Chinese
- 3-and 4-star hotels most popular with Chinese guests
- The availability of Chinese dishes
- The availability of the hotel free Internet, power outlets and adapters according to the standards of China, tea set, Slippers
- Reception and service of cards of system China UnionPay
- Organization of route and placement of Chinese tourists taking into account of the behavior of a large group of people.