China is Canada's fastest growing tourism market

The Asia-Pacific region has seen the fastest growth in tourist arrivals compared to any other region in the world.

According to the Mastercard Asia Pacific Destinations Index 2017, the top three destinations by international overnight arrivals in the region are Bangkok, Tokyo and Singapore.

Chinese tourists ranked number one for the most outbound trips made in the first half of 2017, with approximately 62.03 million trips around the world according to the China National Tourism Administration. China, therefore, remains the largest main feeder market, both on a global level and within the region.

The news comes as Canada and China pave the way to make 2018 the Year of Canada-China Tourism.

China is Canada's fastest-growing tourism market, already its third-largest overseas source market for tourists, and Chinese visitors contribute over $1 billion annually to Canada's economy. There were almost half a million Chinese visitors in 2015, and there is a forecast for a 15 percent growth in visitors for 2016. Chinese tourist travel to Canada rose 24 percent in the first six months of this year, helped by new direct flights to Montréal and Calgary. Chinese visitors alone support about 7,400 Canadian jobs

Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism said;"Canada and China have also agreed to make 2018 the Year of Canada-China Tourism. Both countries are exploring future measures to facilitate the travel flow of tourists and are working on tourism promotion activities in Canada and China.

"An agreement was reached that will authorize Canada to open seven additional visa application centres in China to help serve a growing number of Chinese tourists who are crossing the Pacific to explore Canada. As of this summer, Chinese travellers will be able to fly to Canada from 11 cities in China, so there is a need for the visa application centres.”

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of tourism for Canada's economy and has committed additional funding to enhance marketing initiatives in important international markets, including China, he added.

Tailor-made travel services are fast becoming customary among wealthy travelers looking to escape cookie-cutter vacation packages. According to Ctrip, factors that more Chinese tourists are seeking out from their holidays include "avoiding big crowds," "no shopping" and private travel guides.

When travelers visit places others haven't, they can derive "social cachet," and that's become a trend among the middle class, according to Ben Cavender, a principal at consultancy China Market Research Group.

"Increasingly, we are seeing well-heeled Chinese travel to hard-to-reach destinations for the bragging rights and WeChat pictures [to] show they've been somewhere exotic," he said.

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