China: a tourism market with huge potential
Nicole Ménard, Minister of Tourism, and SHEN Shanzhou, Vice Chairman, Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration
Minister of Tourism, Nicole Ménard, headed an economic mission to Beijing, Jinan and Shanghai, China, from April 6 to 15, 2012, to present Québec as a tourist destination in this rapidly growing market. She was accompanied by representatives from the Ministère du Tourisme, Tourisme Montréal, the Société du Centre des congrès de Québec and Aéroports de Montréal.
The Minister addressed an audience of travel wholesalers and journalists at a luncheon conference in Shanghai, where she noted that the goals of her mission had been achieved, that is:
- Create ties with Chinese partners to promote and sell Québec as a destination for Chinese tourists. A number of meetings were held with Chinese tour operators who organize tours abroad.
- Support the efforts of Aéroports de Montréal to obtain a direct air link between China and Montréal. Meetings were held with representatives of the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration and Chinese airlines such as Air China, Hainan Airlines and China Eastern Airlines.
- Continue bilateral relations between the Government of Québec and the province of Shandong as well as the city of Shanghai. In terms of tourism, concrete collaborative projects were identified to promote reciprocal tourist exchanges.
In addition, Minister Ménard, who oversaw the opening the Destination Québec Office in Beijing in October 2010, announced that she was doubling the tourism promotion budget for the Chinese market in 2012-2013. The Destination Québec Office is mandated to work with tourism stakeholders in China to increase awareness of Québec and to include Québec in tours available to Chinese tourists.
In addition, Pierre-Michel Bouchard, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Société du Centre des congrès de Québec, had a number of productive meetings with academic institutions, which could lead to the holding of an international congress for researchers in Québec City in 2014.
Canada obtained the status of approved destination in 2010, thereby becoming a vacation option for Chinese tourists. Between 2009 and 2010, the number of Chinese tourists travelling to Canada jumped from 223,900 to 290,300, a 30% increase. During the same period, despite the lack of a direct air link between China and Québec, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Québec rose by 89%, increasing from 16,600 to 31,400.
The Chinese market has strong potential for tourism. According to the projections of the World Tourism Organisation, China will count 100 million international travellers by 2020 and will become the largest tourism market in the world.
Ministère du Tourisme (in French)
Québec Government Office in Beijing
Québec Government Office in Shanghai
Destination Québec Office in Beijing (in French)