How individuals and communities can be culturally aware Chinese and Asian tourists

Part two: Understanding Chinese and Asian Tourists and Making Them Feel Welcome

Understanding what Chinese and other Asian cultures do and don’t like is important. Travel, Trade and Marketing Director, Derek Yang, for Travel Michigan’s China Office outlined a number of steps to help communities prepare for visitors from China. According to Mr. Yang, Chinese like:

  • Group activities, sightseeing tours at national parks and/or landmarks, shopping, casinos, and national sport events
  • Access to fresh fruit and vegetables at either farms, u-picks, or agricultural tours
  • Easy level hiking or cycling, beginner ski and/or snowboard lessons

Chinese do not like:

  • Tours that have a superstitious element to them, such as ghost tours or haunted venues, or even accommodation that is in close proximity to cemeteries
  • Due to appearing unsafe and rather dangerous, activities such as mountain biking, rock climbing, extensive hiking, and/or rafting

Speaking from experience, some of these likes and dislikes apply to other Asian cultures, such as South Koreans and/or Thais, when visiting the United States. Generally, Southeast Asian cultures:

  • Are eager to compare major chain restaurants in Thailand with those in the USA
  • Enjoy eating authentic, spicy food from their countries of origin and often will travel distances to have it.
  • Are shy to speak English even though they may be fluent or near to.
  • Do not like spending great lengths of time directly in the sun.
  • Do not necessarily enjoy iced drinks or drinking while eating and will often wait to drink liquids until after a meal is complete.
  • Do not particularly engage in political and/or socially controversial topics.

These are just some examples from cultures I am familiar with due to my experiences in East/Southeast Asia regions.

I know as a well-traveled individual there are steps to increase my awareness of the culture(s) I intend to visit and readiness to travel. A Michigan State University Extension article identifies steps international travelers can take to prepare themselves before embarking on a global adventure. Some of these steps are applicable to preparing for international visitors here.

International travel in the U.S contributes significantly to the U.S. economy. For example, according to U.S. Travel, international spending in the U.S. in 2015 totaled nearly $133 billion. The importance of global tourism is so significant for most countries that 2017 has been declared as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the UNWTO.

Tourism in Michigan is essential to our economic development as a state, and sustaining this industry is imperative to our revitalization and resiliency to future challenges. MSU Extension works with local communities throughout the state to identify strengths and assets to leverage for tourism.

Part one - understanding the big picture and the importance of international tourists

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