BEIJING – The European Union wants Chinese tourists stay longer and see lesser known places in the region, the EU Ambassador to China said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters in Beijing, Nicolas Chapuis provided details of the closing ceremony of the upcoming EU-China Tourism Year that will be held on Saturday in the northern Chinese city of Xi’an.
“China is already having a big impact in Asia. All the countries neighboring China are receiving most of Chinese tourists (...). In the EU, we welcome more tourists. That is why we opened more visa centers and we try to propose Chinese tourists possibilities of different tourist (destinations),” Chapuis said.
The ambassador said Europe also had to meet Chinese expectations like extensive Wifi coverage, Chinese food and allow payments through WeChat and Alipay – the two most popular mobile payment platforms in China.
“We want to offer more destinations, lesser known destinations. Chinese tourists think you can visit Europe in four days. We want them to stay longer, go to the countryside, understand different facets of tourism,” the ambassador added.
The tourism year closing ceremony will be attended by several ambassadors of European countries, as well as Lowri Evans, the head of the European Commission’s Directorate General for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs.
The EU-China Tourism Year initiative was announced in July 2016 by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang with an aim to increase bilateral tourism.
In 2017, 13.6 million of a total 129 million Chinese tourists visited Europe, while talks between the two sides to streamline the processes for granting visas are ongoing.