July 6th, 2011
04:05 AM GMT
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Hong Kong, (CNN) – The Chinese tourists wandering through Paris’ Louvre this summer or shopping along New York’s Fifth Avenue are part of the nearly 65 million Chinese who will travel abroad this year, according to estimates by the China Tourism Authority.

These tourists are among China’s wealthy. But consider this:  More than 20 times that number of Chinese citizens will travel within China this year.

So for those who can’t afford to visit to Europe, Chinese tourism developers are trying to bring Europe to China.

Witness the popularity of Thames Town – a places that looks and feels like an old English town, but is situated on the Yangtze River, not the Thames. This replica town on the outskirts of Shanghai isn’t alone. A Chinese firm plans to rebuild the historic village of Hallstatt, Austria, in Guangdong Province – much to the apparent ire of some Hallstatt citizens.

Yet looking at the throngs of newlyweds who throng to Thames Town, like those pictured above, clearly Chinese developers think they’re onto something.

So who is the domestic traveler in China? How much do they spend? The latest statistics released by the Chinese government is from 2009.  In that year, the average amount of money a Chinese traveler spent per trip was 535 yuan  (US $82). That doesn’t sound like a lot, but we’re talking about volume.  According to the government, the number of trips taken by domestic travelers more than doubled between 1999 to 2009.

In 2009, Chinese made 1.9 billion trips. Considering the population of China is 1.3 billion, this averages out to one or more trips per Chinese citizen. While Hong Kong and Macau are top destinations, other resort areas like southern China’s Hainan Island and the eastern coastal city of Qingdao also draw many local tourists.

As a group, the Chinese low-to-middle market traveler is formidable.  Marriott International’s COO and President Arne Sorenson is aware of this. In a recent interview, he told me the most interesting change he’s seeing in China’s hotel industry is the face of the guests.

"In virtually every one of our hotels in China today, the most significant guest – in terms of percentage of guests in the hotel – are Chinese travelers.  That gets us into a different business than we were in, certainly 10 years ago, which was opening hotels, by and large, catering to global inbound travelers.” As a result, Sorenson sees a growing opportunity for middle market hotels aimed at the Chinese domestic traveler who may not be able to afford the Ritz Carlton (a Marriott brand) , but will find the rates at a Courtyard Marriott appealing. There are already 10 Courtyard Marriotts open in China, three under construction and five more approved.

“Most of the domestic travelers are still on a rather low budget, “ says Chak Wong, finance professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong.  “I can see specialized hotels catering to the low-end benefitting from the boom. However, there are not a lot of specialized chains providing clean, cheap and efficient hotels like those in Europe yet. “

Sam Goodman is an entrepreneur and author of “Where East Eats West,” a foreigner’s how-to-guide on doing business in China.  “If you’re not focusing on the  high-end, then you need to focus on the low-end and go with the Chinese saying  'bo li duo xiao' which means 'small profit, high volume,' ” says Goodman. “As an entrepreneur, I look for ideas that are scalable. Travel, as a whole, is a very large industry, but extremely fragmented. The larger brands go to where the money already is. [They] have no real desire to nurture and wait for the smaller players to develop the market.”

While Marriott is one of the big names reaching out to the price-conscious traveler, it’s a challenge keeping pace with China’s growth.  Sorenson acknowledges the number of middle market Marriott hotels breaking ground  is still not enough. He says," It’s much fewer in number than the potential China ultimately presents at a level like Courtyard. It could be possible we would participate in the (pricing) segment below Courtyard as well.”

With hotels and replica towns catering to domestic Chinese travelers, expect the travel landscape to change by the day.



soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. rann201

    cnn articles about china seems like being filtered by the chinese government. lol

    how about showing the povert aorund those replica towns? you see the new paints on the road but you ignore the dirty gutters.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  2. tog

    My God ! HAHAHA Chinese people are so good to copy, now they have started to copy our towns.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  3. kabite_kid

    wow, they can copy almost everything! impressive. I hope they also copy democracy, respect for human rights and respect for other country's borders and stay away from the islands in the west Philippine sea.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  4. yl

    In terms of copy, the paper is invented in China. In terms of Democracy, you want china copy Philippine? Which was once the richest country in South East Aisa before indenpendence, now with Democracy, one of the poorest and dangerous place in South East Asia.

    West Philippine Sea, you guys invented this word recently just to pretend these inslands are yours, no any world map called 'west philippine' sea. Look at old map your country published. It has always been called South China Sea in the world. It doesn't mean these islands are closer to Philippine that they are automaticly belong to your country.

    July 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  5. TrueBrit

    @kabite_kid:
    I can think of only one country within the last year which had such disregard for other country's borders that it felt it had the right to invade a sovereign nation solely for it's own interest. And within the last decade imposed itself within other countries for the most skeptical of reasons (btw, have any WMDs been found yet...?).
    Oh, and stay away from islands nowhere near the US mainland (i.e. Hawaii).

    July 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  6. Max360

    Is this an article about European towns for China or Actually a Commercial for the US Marriott Hotels? CNN, If you Actually are interested in these new towns in China, then show us actual Pictures of these towns and talk about the subject instead of turning to US promotion every time. You are making more US Propaganda these days then Russiatoday or CCTV China.

    July 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  7. Dolphin

    There is no such thing as west Philippine sea. If you want to play name, its called the South China Sea. The Philippines also claimed East Malaysia Sabah which has been dismissed as ridiculous. In 1992, the Philippines threw out the colonial US navy from its Subic naval base with huge nationwide protests and transformed the developed base into economic zones resulting in huge monetary gains. Today the English-speaking Filipinos are heavily employed in US tech sector and they also took away large numbers of outsoucing jobs from US. Now please send troops to defend their claims for every faraway island that looks like the 7000 odd islands they already claimed.

    July 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  8. jesus

    Well in europe specifically Paris,France it was reported that chinese people get exploited,robbed and assaulted.

    I do not blame the chinese for not visiting europe.

    July 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  9. Ash

    Seriously, can they EVER make something ORIGINAL!

    July 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  10. Victorianism

    It is all about tourism, finally some ones turn it all about islands. Indeed, it always is a good idea for tourism on islands remote that much as South China Sea. It is not good. And even much worse stands another underlying point-disputes over these islands. It disturbs me for there is a possibility that China turns tough, away from its currently friendly status toward wayward neighbors, which predictably will have consequences, both bilateral and international. Let us pray for better self-discipline from China. And let us wish good luck to the Philippines for its suicidal choice should Beijing not behave with good temperament all the time. After all, it is quite anticipated (and can also be reasonably concluded) that China will lose good humor if the Philippines insists to dig a big part out from the South China Sea or the newly-emerging unknown other-named sea. Let us pray for the peace.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  11. lared

    usa has its fake towns also. Been to Disneyland or Epcot? And why is the filth, poverty, and graffiti not shown alongside articles about Disneyland?

    July 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  12. That'snotTrue:[

    .....................................This was published in global square......why so many versions of the same article?
    &&& Why do you CNN reporters care......so what, there are theme towns in every country not just China, why do you guys think that Chinese people must built Chinese structures, we live in a globalized world, in the US or Canada you would find China Town, Little Italy, Greek Town ect. why bother???

    July 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  13. wendy

    democracy or human rights can not be copied. a person who says so cant be more naive.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  14. Silver

    China like Russia, being authoritarian regimes, worries about its young people identifying more with the West than with traditional local lore. I suspect one reason why China copies such Western attractions is to remove the cultural aspect of going abroad for tourism. By copying so many foreign attractions to such detail, China debases the experience of visiting other cultures and in a way, is rewriting history; because of China's huge population, just by numbers alone those local attractions will eventually be regarded by local Chinese tourists as being more "popular" and "real" to them than the originals – China will in effect OWN these attractions. These copies are not caricatures like the Disneyland versions. These Chinese copies appear to replace the originals, as far as Chinese tourists are concerned. It's a form of mind control.

    July 6, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  15. Beve Stalmer, CEO, Macrohard

    Common guys, you should all stay away from the South Swedish Sea, located between the Philippines and China!

    July 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  16. Christian

    This reminds me of Potemkin villages meant to fool Catherine the Great into thinking her people were prospering. The difference seems to be the 'audience': Western tourists, the (few) Chinese people who get to see them, or the (fewer) Chinese who get to 'live' in the villages ('actors' or rich Chinese wannabes???). In any case, it is a symptom of China's inferiority complex vis-à-vis the West.
    Too bad Mao and his Cultural Revolution destroyed so much of the ages old China that showed its own greatness....and by doing so, the bankruptcy of Communist ideology. The 'People' indeed!!! (If the Cult of the Personality has been politically incorrect for so many years now, why is Mao's gigantic portrait still hanging over the entrance gateway to the Forbidden City, esp. since Mao's actions are largely discredited???).

    July 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  17. inside truth

    Developed countries, keep ur jobs with yourself at any cost as u don't get them back if u loose them to china, try to educate ur people to work for little lower wages,educate ur young how to compete with china to safe guard their country from Chinese hackers who steal everything from ' safety pin" knowledge to national security information.

    i think chinese r in a hurry in the process of making replicas of not only statues, etc from all over world but also want to copy every nation's best art, buildings, stylish homes, streets, towns, towers(so many r copied from las vegas, etc), artifacts, cities and u name so....... i think they copied everything they found till now from other countries, but i really doubt can they bring the elegance, feel(ambiance, aura), culture, dignity, presence of that genuine(unadulterated,legitimate) arts, cultures, environments into the copy cat land of china.
    i think once we come of those gate(s) where all these r placed we can see the legitimate look of china n feel the real "Mainland" china but we miss that real panoramic view of cultures n etc.
    China is trying to build all these as in "one ticket" to their country, they can show all these cities n etc (they copied) to westerners or outsiders n get all those dollllars n etc currency into their country by fooling n cheating them and telling them to fell the place n enjoy whole hearty. Also at the same time they don't want "their" people to visit other countries n expirence the real towns n cities as bcoz they will loose some chinese wealth(curreny) to others n china will become poor.
    one thing, this old concept of u may be a hit for 1st them 2nd yr but after dat everybody knows wats real inside n stops coming not only to ur newly "copied" attractions but also to ur "called" genuine chinese places. A culture n etc can be experienced n felt only when ur in those places but not in these copied places.
    For small eg., u want to experience the real Europe but china has an offer that china has transformed one of its occupied(captured from innocent border countries) island into an european continent where u find Eiffel tower, british n german buildings, swiss castles,Greece, Rome, Vatican cities n etc replicas n enjoy their n spend dollors as u like, but once u enter there u find things(places) shown by only Chinese nationals who explain u about Rome n its culture in their language n for lunch u can eat a Chinese meal n etc, so this is the whole drama which goes there n u can feel the purpose of the visit truly in there.

    further more, china,try to develop ur own knowledge on space technology, electronics, weaponry(all types), nuclear fuel usage, computers, European clothing designs n etc ,plz for God sake don't steal any countries knowledge on these and make a duplicate of these and indirectly don't sell to them itself. I have seen lots of electronics items which r developed in US/Germany/Aus/ n European countries are ending up in a 2nd world country like china where they make a duplicate of the same item or they will do little adjustments to it and release with a new name(has mostly faulty features) in all countries all over the world. so 3rd world countries r using faulty products(mostly china made) by still paying good money.
    I blame developed Countries who sell the designs/code/practices/models n etc to china, so that they can make a product for lesser price n in more quantity but they r not realizing that by this they r loosing a really good chunk of people from all nations who want to buy a real genuine product n more over Americans n Europeans r loosing their own jobs which r shifted to china. In long run also westerner's can't get their jobs back as china's populations increases slowly or alarmingly, so than also their(chinese) govt. need to fund and provide jobs to the growing youngsters.

    Chinese govt playing all cards correctly to keep their manufacturing n etc companies(jobs) in tact n tries to get more n more export orders from richer countries(now richer, don't know in future) by lowering their currency rates intelligently and by buying lots of US debts. so that they can keep US n all western countries under their feet always.

    now i'm getting an idea how to make the replica websites of facebook, twitter, google+ n etc n fool the.........

    July 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  18. Bill N

    Is this any different than the fake Paris, NY, etc in Las Vegas?

    July 8, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  19. andy

    This town will break down right about the time it's easier to throw out than to try for a refund.

    July 8, 2011 at 5:41 am |
  20. mjs

    Well in south africa you have fake tuscan villages,fake lost cities,fake bali townhouses,fake sushi,fake karate schools,
    fake eurocentric cities,fake italian villages,.......its worldwide ....????

    July 8, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  21. Zhang

    To people who asked if China ever makes something orignal, I an amazed by your ignorance. How about paper, silk, gun powder, compass, etc.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  22. inside truth

    to chinese ,

    if u find USA n western countries as filty n etc., so why ur coming here as students then settling as immigrants then slowly coping everything what USA or western countries invent and sending those copied material thru every possible hidden medium. U buy everything(homes, lands n etc) in other nations on student or on normal work visa where ur supposed to do just ur work only, but with these Chinese overtake the local nationals can't buy lands etc by ur pressure(as u people inflate the prices) as the prices of the buildings n lands go up alarmingly. so thats why so many westerners r having a problem with chinese as they come from now where to buy the local lands. A very strict rule must be passed that " only locals of that nation who have Greencard, PR or citizens can buy lands or do business but not people who r in student, work n etc normal visas. I heard the same problem which Aussie locals r facing that people(chinese) come there to study just 1yr or 2 yr degrees in English or other courses but meanwhile they buy houses, businesses in large proportionate thus creating a big headache to the real Aussies n there by inflating the prices. u people look innocent but are very very dangerous on the above said matter. some say that u r like a "cobra on a green grass".
    if any country copies or make replicas they do to an Little extent(some models only) and get all needed legitimate docs(from genuine town, building owner or etc) to start the work and then they start building but u people do everything 1st by hiding then later publish to the world media about ur newly created (copied) wonders.

    i remember a comedy skit from "Russell peter's show", the skit is –there's an Louis Vuitton store in USA, every day an Indian passes thru that store but never looks at it as he don't want them n then comes an Jewish guy who goes in their when its on SALE and buys some items but then comes the real hero(chinese guy) who goes every day into LV store if its on sale or not n when no body sees him he takes his small high resolution camera and take pics(snaps) of everything he likes in the store and goes back home innocently and mails them to his uncle in china and tells him to make those LV Bags and etc items quickly and ask his to sell them to Indians.

    so if u want to copy then try to inherit the good(filtered) democratic rules and try to follow them.

    so beware guys........if these guys r coming to shops, to see grt buildings etc activate ur CCTV's n etc cameras, be alert if not may be one day u will lose ur own work or ur countries precious thing.

    July 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  23. inside truth

    created paper - as to copy the original into that in olden days
    gun powder - haha... to use it on ur own people(communist type from ages)
    compass -- haha... really to find the places where the originals(genuine items) r situated n copy them by following ur
    compass

    may be u have invented those things but i think u stopped inventing long ago as now ur investing in foreign lands to invent routes(ways) to copy the newly invented things from western countries.
    u have a good track record of copying things long ago too.

    July 8, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  24. na

    Zhang, stop retreating to ancient discoveries. All of China's accomplishments in modernizing their country are fantastic and to be applauded. But the fact is that China's government is backwards and authoritarian. People are being exploited for cheap labor and the environment is being destroyed to make the few rich even richer. In the West, we value individual thinking and creativity – not conformity. This is why the Chinese government censors all that it fears. That's a sign of weakness and cowardice.

    July 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  25. brush

    if any one(china) finds USA n western countries as filthy n etc., so why ur coming here as students then settling as immigrants then slowly coping everything what USA or western countries invent and sending those copied material thru every possible hidden medium. U buy everything(homes, lands n etc) in other nations on student or on normal work visa where ur supposed to do just ur work only, but with these Chinese overtake the local nationals can't buy lands etc by ur pressure(as u people inflate the prices) as the prices of the buildings n lands go up alarmingly. so that's why so many westerners r having a problem with chinese as they come from now where to buy the local lands. A very strict rule must be passed that " only locals of that nation who have Green-card, PR or citizens can buy lands or do business but not people who r in student, work n etc normal visas. I heard the same problem which Aussie locals r facing that people(chinese) come there to study just 1yr or 2 yr degrees in English or other courses but meanwhile they buy houses, businesses in large proportionate thus creating a big headache to the real Aussies n there by inflating the prices. u people look innocent but are very very dangerous on the above said matter. if any country copies or make replicas they do to an Little extent(some models only) and get all needed legitimate docs(from genuine town, building owner or etc) to start the work and then they start building but u people do everything 1st by hiding then later publish to the world media about ur newly created (copied) wonders.

    i remember a comedy skit from "Russell peter's show", the skit is –there's an Louis Vuitton
    store in USA, every day an Indian passes thru that store but never looks at it as he don't want
    them n then comes an Jewish guy who goes in their when its on SALE and buys some items but then comes the real hero(chinese guy) who goes every day into LV store if its on sale or not n when no body sees him he takes his small high resolution camera and take pics(snaps) of everything he likes in the store and goes back home innocently and mails them to his uncle in china and tells him to make those LV Bags and etc items quickly and ask his to sell them to Indians.

    so if u want to copy then try to inherit the good(filtered) democratic rules and try to follow them.

    created paper – as to copy the original into that paper in olden days
    gun powder – haha... to use it on ur own ......(communist type from ages)
    compass - haha... really to find the places where the originals(genuine items) r situated n copy them by following ur
    compass

    may be u have invented those things but i think u stopped inventing long ago as now ur investing in foreign lands to invent routes(ways) to copy the newly invented things from western countries.
    u have a good track record of copying things long ago too.

    July 8, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
  26. icon design

    What necsesary words... super, a remarkable phrase

    hpixel

    September 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  27. Raggetyass

    Wow, when Europe collapses over it's own financial debt, we can still go to China to see European cities.

    September 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm |

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