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Hoteliers worldwide learning Chinese etiquette to attract Chinese tourists

Hoteliers worldwide are changing rules to attract tourists from China.jpg

With an estimated 100 million Chinese leaving their country to go on holiday this year, hoteliers worldwide are increasingly adapting to make sure they are 'Chinese friendly'.


Although Hong Kong and Macau are still the biggest holiday destinations for Chinese tourists, and the top five preferred destinations are all in Asia, Europe is becoming more popular. But with Chinese outbound tourism the largest and potentially most important market in the world, there are a number of things hoteliers can do in order to attract visitors, in keeping with Chinese etiquette (礼仪).


Guests should be greeted politely without any physical contact, and the hotel's business card offered with both hands. 


Chinese visitors should never be given a room on the fourth floor of a hotel, or a room with the number four in it, because in Mandarin the number four sounds too similar to the word 'death'.


Restaurant menus and all other hotel information should be in Mandarin, and on the subject of food, fruit should always be served in portions, never whole. 


Hot water should be served with meals, and all rooms should have a kettle.


Waiters should always serve the eldest or the most highly educated person first. 


And it is imperative not to point with one finger.


Some analysts say it is not enough to cater for Chinese guests simply by serving hot water and cutting up fruit, and that waiters should learn enough Mandarin to be able to ask their guests if they enjoyed their meal.


But there are signs that the travel industry globally is taking big steps toward making Chinese tourists feel at home.


At The Ritz in Paris there is a Chinese concierge, and some luxury stores in the capital have employed Chinese-speaking staff. The Waldorf Astoria in In New York gives Chinese guests a tea kettle and a pair of slippers on arrival. Recently it was revealed that 14 hotels in Spain have been rated 'Chinese-friendly'.


The market for Chinese holidaymakers was worth around $129bn in 2013, according to CityMetric Intelligence, and the Chinese recently overtook Americans as the world's biggest-spending tourists, splashing out $165bn in 2014. 



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