Most Important Travel Trends of 2012
More Chinese travelers will be on the road, and you’ll find hotels adjusting to their needs.
In the 1950’s, Americans transformed the travel landscape in Europe when they began vacationing there in large numbers. The next wave of globe-trotters? China’s thriving middle class, and this time the impact will be global. With 100 million Chinese travelers expected to go abroad by 2015, hotels are rushing to tailor services for this burgeoning market. The payoff is huge: Chinese visitors to the U.S. last year spent on average $6,200 per person versus $3,000 by U.K. citizens. “The Chinese traveler is our economic stimulus,” says Robert Bobo, spokesman for the U.S. Travel Association, which is leading a campaign to streamline visa procedures for Chinese visitors. Hilton, Starwood, and Millennium have launched programs worldwide to hire more Mandarin speakers, train staff in Chinese etiquette, and provide culturally specific creature comforts: you tiao (fried crullers) and congee for breakfast, and Chinese TV channels in the rooms.
By the Numbers: 1,200 hotels are being built in China over the next two years—more than any other country worldwide