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Travel Trends: Why Chinese Tastes Matter

The chef at Hilton Beijing Wangfujing serves Huanying breakfast items including congee, dim sum, and fried rice and noodles. Items like this are now available in 51 Hilton hotels in 13 countries.

China is richer than ever—or at least richer than any time since the Qin dynasty—and Chinese disposable income is on the rise. Savvy entrepreneurs have been eyeing this trend and scurrying to capitalize on it. Even not-so-private interests like public high schools have thrown their hats in the ring.

The travel industry is no different. In a recent interview, Ferragamo CEO Salvatore Ferragamo advocated a more exclusive shopping experience at airports, including VIP areas for, well, VIP travellers. To support this move, he cited the expectations of wealthy Chinese travellers who he says want high-quality European products coupled with as Asian-style customer service.

International hotelier Hilton recently launched Hilton Huanying, a hospitality program aimed specifically at Chinese travellers to make them feel at home abroad. For instance, the Huanying hotels offer familiar Chinese breakfast options like fish congee and turnip cakes and an in-room selection of Chinese teas; a Chinese-speaking front desk attendant is guaranteed around the clock. (As yet, the only Canadian hotels to roll out the program are the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown and the Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel & Suites.)

Those businesses—and nations, for that matter—who don’t consider the Chinese traveller may miss out. A recent New York Times opinion piece suggests that the U.S. is losing market share to countries like France with less-stringent tourist visa requirements and with shops scrambling to hire Chinese-speaking staff.

Travelocity Betting on Green Travel

Photo by Travelocity

A few days ago we brought your attention to a recent poll suggesting Canadians don’t give much thought to green travel. But everything-under-the-sun travel purveyor Travelocity, for one, is betting that green initiatives are the wave of the future. One of the online company’s more impressive projects has been to create an eco-friendly hotel directory, based on criteria developed with the help of the Rainforest Alliance, EarthCheck, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, among others.

For a colourful profile of today’s eco-conscious traveller (travellers using Travelocity, at least), Alison Presley, Manager of the company’s Travel for Good program, on Wednesday posted the infographic “Green Travelers by the Numbers” on the company’s Window Seat blog. The stats don’t divulge any major shockers (79% of green travellers recycle, for instance), but they do reveal areas where eco-travel has plenty of room for growth, most notably among families and men. And it’s also just a fun graphic to peruse, so enjoy!