It’s A Slam Dunk For China

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RCA Winner Logo Whenever China is mentioned, the first impression is consistently that of a great, vast, enigmatic land defined generally by its iconic treasures: The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the hectic modern pace of Hong Kong, Shanghai’s Bund and other world-renowned wonders that have become its symbols.

It isn’t too far off the mark to say that China will be Asia’s top-seller for years to come because the Middle Kingdom—chosen by Recommend readers as the Best Selling Destination in Asia in the 15th annual Readers’ Choice Awards for six consecutive years—is much more than familiar landmarks and cities. It is a veritable galaxy of untold treasures where travelers find serendipity lurking around every corner.

The China National Tourist Office (CNTO), with offices in Los Angeles and New York, is a wellhead for information for travel agents when directing clients. One of its missions, according to the CNTO representative in Los Angeles, is to help travel agents and tour operators in selling China to Americans by providing them with sales tools, including travel brochures, videos, displays and other materials.

It’s not hyperbole to say that China has something for everyone.

It’s difficult to find a more colorful, delightful, delicious and diverse country. An expected increase in tourist arrivals (more than two million U.S. citizens visited last year) has prompted a number of changes to the Chinese travel industry, mostly affecting hotels and cruise lines.

Major international hotel chains plan to strengthen their presence by adding hotels not only in China’s principal cities, but also in second- and third-tier destinations.

InterContinental Hotels Groups (IHG) presently manages 154 properties in China. The predicted surge of visitors has prompted IHG to map out 142 additional properties. This development would be the largest in China and a quarter of IHG’s global total.

Hilton Worldwide, meanwhile, announced that it plans to have 100 hotels in China by 2014. That would quadruple the number of properties it currently manages in the country, making China Hilton’s second largest market after the U.S.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts—which won this year as Best Resort/Hotel Chain in Asia—has 70 hotels in China, and has more than 90 new hotels in development in the region.

According to the CNTO, the high number of foreigners expected in the very near future poses a welcome challenge.

Chinese ports are bracing for an increase of visiting cruise lines. Indeed, two international cruise operators have unveiled plans to sail into China. Miami-based Royal Caribbean will add new luxury cruise ships to its Chinese routes in 2012, while Costa Cruises will introduce a new ship that will increase the line’s capacity by 40 percent.

Whether by land or by sea, China remains a very profitable destination, as the flow of tourists is only exceeded by its long list of alluring destinations.

Best Selling Destination in Asia