115 milliard dollars that Chinese tourists spent last year for traveling passed by Kazakhstan. The country loses a huge amount because of xenophobia, which entrenched among its citizens and their categorical unwillingness to create comfortable conditions for guests from China.
Chinese tourists all over the world are welcome customers, which is explained not only by their large number and by great love for excursions and cultural and entertainment programs.
Every trip for them is a large-scale shopping. Paradoxically, the citizens of the Republic, in which the lion’s share of the world’s clothing industries is concentrated, try to dress and put on shoes, going abroad, because, oddly enough, branded items are much more expensive in Chinese boutiques.
– Tourists from China are considered the most generous travelers. They buy a lot of not only luxury clothes, but also authentic souvenirs and ecological products – honey, fruit, chocolate, flour, cereals, vodka and wine of local production. They buy all this with suitcases! – says the President of the Eurasian Association of tourism Rysty Karabaeva.
For Kazakhstan, the Chinese are very profitable tourists, she believes, and in confirmation leads the calculations:
– In September, I accompanied a group of five representatives of China who came to the forum in Turkestan. They went to one shopping center, where 500 thousand tenge left, went to another – another half a million purchased, that is, for each 200 thousand. 550 thousand they paid for accommodation in hotels, not counting food in restaurants, 1.4 million more-for air tickets, – gives an example of Karabayev. – Another delegation from Hong Kong, traveling on the program “one belt – one road”, visited Astana and Almaty – 31 people.
Within seven days, Kazakh hotels earned 2.2 million tenge, restaurants in two cities – 1.7 million, transport companies – 700 thousand, the airline-about 5.5 million tenge. Is that extra money for us?
In order to attract more guests from the neighboring country, in 2015 Kazakhstan signed a Memorandum with China, allowing to enter the country on a group visa.
On the one hand, Kazakhstan has the status of a country recommended for visits by Chinese group tourists, on the other – the ability to accept them, while controlling illegal immigration from China.
But hopes for an increase in the flow of travelers from China did not come true: if in 2014, before the signing of the Memorandum, Kazakhstan was visited by 228,617 Chinese citizens, in 2017 – only 94,817 people, that is 2.4 times less.
And otherwise it can not be, if not to create special conditions for these very promising tourists. Neighboring Russia, unlike Kazakhstan, has made every effort to develop tourism with China. Loyalty programs are becoming more and more inventive there.
Major shopping centres, restaurants, museums are ready to dance around the guests from the celestial Empire: for them to hire tour guides and sellers, knowledge of the Chinese language duplicate information on banners, adapting restaurant menus, organize bright Christmas program according to the lunar calendar, the release of the tourist card discounts. Large airports are hospitably full of hieroglyphs to passengers from a neighboring country in anticipation of the flight wanted to make more purchases in duty-free. There, finally, earned the system “tax free”, which also could not remain without attention of travelers from East Asia. As a result, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg in 2017 increased by almost 30 percent compared to 2016. Kazakhstan to such – as to Mars.
We dress in Chinese, put on Chinese, eat Chinese dishes. Even toiletry Chinese Souvenirs to buy.
And when it comes to the Chinese leaving their money in our country, pseudo-Patriotic feelings are triggered, xenophobia is included. That is, Kazakhstan citizens from irrational Patriotic feelings themselves resist Chinese tourists spent more money in Kazakhstan, – is perplexed form Karabaev.
If Kazakhs are focused on the reception of tourists, it is desirable to European or American. But this is-no more than their blue dream, said the President of the tourist Association.
– Europe, America rely primarily on domestic tourism. In the US, more than 98 percent travel within their own country. For some reason we are waiting for mythical guests from afar, and the closest to us are neighboring countries: Russia, China, and we have more chances to receive their tourists, ” she insists. – China is now a global trend.
One example: very difficult relations between Japan and China at the moment, and how tourism is set! Japan receives 7.5 million Chinese tourists a year. Can you imagine how much money they make on them?
And we are for the Chinese – an unfamiliar neighbor, to whom I want to go on a visit, especially between our countries have developed warm relations. In addition, China now has a state program that allows you to travel the world on favorable terms, which means that they will leave the country more and more. So why don’t we take advantage?
To increase the flow of Chinese tourists to Kazakhstan and significantly increase their spending here, it is necessary to take into account the interests of these people, said Rysty Karabaeva.
Almost all of them use the system “WeChat” for purchases, so it is necessary to enter it. It is also necessary to organize a system of “tax free” to stimulate purchases and know the statistics of spending.
Ideally-to give the opportunity to obtain a tourist visa in electronic form, while respecting the established rules. And then the program “one belt – one road” will really bring huge dividends to Kazakhstan tourism.