People, Travel

Attracting Chinese Tourists

Attracting Chinese TouristsAttracting Chinese Tourists

Nearly 100 million Chinese tourists travel around the world annually and several countries compete to attract a share of the number. The high purchasing power of the Chinese boosts the tourism market of the host countries, according to Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad. Therefore, to secure the tourism market which will keep the Chinese coming, after having conducted needful studies, several countries lifted unnecessary barriers, visas for instance, and at times even provide free accommodation for the Chinese.

Regional and national situations have brought about an unprecedented boost in Iran’s tourism industry. In any case, competition is still tight and the government and private sectors need to study the market closely to sustain this growth.  

In an interview with Donya-e Eqtesad, Kazem Kholdinasab president of the tourism marketing office at the Iran Cultural Heritage Handcrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO), stated that the policies of the organization for attracting tourists are focused on neighboring countries, countries in northern regions, Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) which are all deemed to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development, South Africa, and a number of other European countries.

China is of particular importance and to attract more Chinese tourists several measures have been taken.

According to the official, the director of China’s Tourism Organization will soon be travelling to Iran. The Chinese organization functions under the direct supervision of the president; therefore the meeting is expected to be productive.

China has prepared a list of eligible countries where tourists are allowed to travel and issues the task to certified travel agencies active within the country. Iran has been included in the list since 2011.

A committee which includes the ICHTO, the ministry of foreign affairs, Iran-China chamber of commerce, and Iran-China Friendship Association has been created and is operating to formulate plans, brainstorm ideas, and closely monitor the tourism market, the official added.


In order to attract more Chinese tourists, one approach is to further incorporate rail transportation. Iran’s rail network is now connected to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, countries in the Far East and China can use this network for its people to travel to Iran.    

To provide affordable tour packages in which tourists can explore Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia, and Iran all in one trip is also another proposed plan which would certainly encourage more Chinese tourists to travel to Iran.    

The official also noted that Iran and China’s cooperation in the Silk Road project has provided an ideal situation for administering tours along this route.

Also, inviting Chinese media to attend tours across Iran with the aim of producing documentaries on noteworthy tourist attractions, later to be broadcast in their own country, has proven effective in stimulating tourism.

Touching on the importance of the private sector in promoting tourism, the official stated that Iran plans to set up information and marketing centers in the major cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzho. Eligible Iranians living in China have been invited to cooperate in such projects.

Another key action which has proven effective is taking part in international tourism exhibitions. Every year, the China Outbound Travel & Tourism Market (COTTM) is held. In 2012, Iran had a pavilion in the event which turned out quite rewarding.  An international tourism exhibition will be held in Tehran in January, in which the Chinese will also be taking part.

Intensified planning and the wide range of activities carried out prove that Iran has taken the market seriously and plans to attract as many Chinese tourists as possible. This would improve the countries international image as well. It must not be forgotten that in order to ensure satisfaction, tourists must also be given proper attention during the term of their stay. Accordingly, more roads and airports should be built, social services need to be improved, sense of security must rise, and several other things need to be done to further enhance the infrastructures for tourism in Iran.