By Humphrey Carter
THE Chinese may be receptive to Balearic exports but, according to a recent study, they are unlikely to start flocking here on beach holidays.
While Majorcan tennis hero Rafael Nadal has spent the build up to this weekend's Shanghai Open helping to promote Balearic goods in China, the Balearic University in association with the Canton University in China, has managed to establish that the Chinese are not big on spending their holidays lying on the beach. By the year 2020, it is estimated that the Chinese tourist market will be 100-million strong with the main overseas interests being cultural city trips. Professor of Economics at the Balearic University, Joan Mir, explained that the main aim of the study, which started in 2003 and also involves a number of French universities, is to “break China down from a tourism perspective.” However, while the West is looking towards China as a major new tourism market, experts claim that it is going to China, which hosts the Olympic games in 2008, that will be the big winner. Mir says that China is going to use the Games to promote tourism in China and that, as a result, it could become the next mass-holiday destination.
While more and more Chinese are travelling abroad on holiday, domestic tourism is still the main market. “There is going to be steady growth in the number of Chinese coming to Europe, but the main attractions are going to be cities, especially those rich in culture and monuments. There is very little demand for sun and beach holidays in China,” according to the Balearic University's findings.
What is more, tourism experts also claim that the European tourism industry has to change its habits and adapt its services for the Chinese. “The Chinese are very proud of their culture and customs and they're not prepared to change those when they go travelling,” said Francesc Sastre, the professor in charge of the study here in Majorca. For example, he suggests that chop-sticks should be provided by hotel restaurants frequented by Chinese visitors.
The university also confirmed yesterday that the Chinese president Hu Jintao, will be visiting Spain tomorrow as he continues with his tour of Europe.


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