[photopress:hotel_super8.jpg,full,alignright]Drawn by the Great Wall and the Terra-Cotta Soldiers in Xian, overseas tourists are flooding into the country. And despite the current unrest in Tibet, the draw of the mainland is unlikely to weaken any time soon. Last year’s 132 million visitors spent $42 billion, making China the fourth most popular destination country, behind France, Spain, and the U.S.
By 2015, the World Tourism Organization estimates, it will be No. 1.
Perhaps, even more important is domestic tourism, which makes up three-fourths of total revenues. Propelled by double-digit gross domestic product growth and rising urban incomes — up more than 12% last year — increasingly well-off Chinese are opting to travel within China for fun and relaxation.
Good news for Wyndham Worldwide’s Super 8 franchise (Wyndham also has Howard Johnson and Days Inn properties on the mainland). Since opening its first hotel in Beijing in 2004, the chain has grown to 67 properties in cities across the mainland. By year end, Super 8 plans to double its locations in China.
Mitchell Presnick, Super 8 China’s chief executive, said, ‘When economies experience this kind of growth, one of the first things that happens is people want to travel.’
Treu. But this is not all good news. The writer was in Paris in January and it was bitterly cold. And there were long lines to get into everything. In the end, one gave up in disgust. If that was January what will September be like?