Hoping for a Chinese invasion - Macleans.ca

Hoping for a Chinese invasion

Canada’s tourism industry wants its slice of this rapidly expanding group of travellers


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About 100 million Chinese tourists will be leaving their country every year by 2020, the largest group of travellers on Earth, and Canada’s tourism industry wants its slice of the rapidly expanding pie.

After eight years of negotiations, Canada received “approved designation status” from China in June, meaning Canadian tourism agencies are now free to advertise in the country. “This is a very big deal,” says Michele McKenzie, president and CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission. “We need to close the sale to draw them in.”

The CTC hopes Chinese visitors will generate an extra $300 million a year in tourism revenue by 2015. McKenzie says they’ll be drawn by “Chinese-speaking guides and the type of amenities they’re looking for,” and lists Canada’s national parks and destinations like the CN Tower, Niagara Falls and the Rocky Mountains as the biggest attractions. She also says the Chinese are fascinated by Norman Bethune, the Canadian physician who died serving in the second Sino-Japanese War in 1939. His birth site in Gravenhurst, Ont., as well as a museum dedicated to his life, is listed as a “must-see” on most Chinese itineraries.

The first arrivals, several small groups of about 350, have already come to Canada and made their way around sites in Edmonton, Ottawa and several other destinations. Their holidays are normally very short, so they keep itineraries packed, and although they might try the occasional Western breakfast, they generally like to stay within their comfort zone, sticking to the authentic Chinese cuisine that Canada has to offer. “China is the fastest-growing outbound tourism market in the world; there is intense competition,” says McKenzie. But, she says, because there’s already so much Chinese culture already here, “Canada has a big advantage.”


Hoping for a Chinese invasion

  1. Is it ok to feel uncomfortable that we have sucked up to that evil regime that gave us Tiananmen in order to prostitute Anne Shirley for the dough?

    We joined in the competition of the tourism marketplace to curry favour with the communists. This is supposed to be good?

    • What a rediculous statement.
      I have been to China many times on business and travel since 1979. The Chinese people have been wonderful.
      it is not an evil regime.
      Where is your head
      You listen to to much Propagada.

      • Then riddle me this. What kind of berserk twisted country tells its citizens where they can (and cannot) travel? And negotiates terms by which destination countries might "earn a spot" on the good list? The whole concept is pathetic. Evil regime, indeed…

        • USA as it relates to traveling to Cuba? ;-)

          • Also stupid. Although any American has always been free to emigrate to Cuba. Seems most of the one-way travel has been on rickety rafts and inner tubes evading the sharks in the other direction.

          • The Cuba thing does confuse me (without causing any lost sleep). Obviously those restrictions aren't in the same ballpark as Chinese restrictions, but why even bother?

            Home of the free and all that….

            I wonder if any Americans have actually emigrated to Cuba…I'd actually wager that the number is greater than 0.

          • …and way less than the number who have died trying to reverse the feat.

    • It's better than engaging in trade with them.

      They say that close ties between democratic countries will bring about freedom in oppressive regimes, which is probably true to a point, but it comes from the free exchange of ideas and people meeting with one another to learn about other cultures. When it involves taking advantage of one countries cheap labour, it gives the other country a stake in the other's awful treatment of its citizenry.

      • Help me out here. How do you figure them coming over here to give us money in exchange for "tourism" is not "engaging in trade" with them?

        At first blush, that sentence is a complete absurdity. Hopefully you will disabuse me of that impression.

  2. Why don't they stay home? Any time rich foreigners 'discover' Canada on a vacation they come back another time
    & buy up the real estate so local people can not afford it. That is the outcome of tourism….seen it with Hong Kong people, etc.