While traveling extensively in Japan this month I realized that the amount of tourism services and facilities geared towards Chinese visitors have dramatically increased, especially announcements and placards.
Is this development due to the heightened misconduct of many mainland Chinese travelers or simply because they are such an economic force that the Japanese can’t ignore it any longer?
It was especially notable in the case of the Hilton Narita Airport hotel where I stayed 50+ times and have never noticed any announcements in Mandarin-Chinese as well as breakfast options and notes in the room.
Yet all of a sudden they are everywhere: Announcements on the shuttle bus, simple chinese breakfast dished in the morning (not much actually but I guess the gesture counts for something) as well as detailed information on the work desk.
Hilton Huanying is an initiative by Hilton Worldwide that aims to welcome Chinese travelers globally (read more about it here).
Hilton Worldwide today announced the expansion of Hilton Huanying (huān yίng) – a program that offers Chinese travelers a customized hospitality experience during their stay – to more than 110 Hilton Worldwide properties globally. As Chinese citizens make up the world’s largest outbound travel market1 and are continually evolving in their needs, Hilton has updated the Huanying program amenities and service standards. These offerings meet the needs of the modern day Chinese traveler, while maintaining the comforts that harken back to home.
Mind you, the start of this program dates back two years from today so why now?
Based on information compiled by JTB Tourism Research and Consulting (see their study here) China now ranks second for overseas visitors to Japan, with South Korea taking the first spot and Taiwan the third.
This is an economic force to be reckoned with and so I guess Japan has stepped up their game to cater to Chinese visitors a bit more while at the same time trying to keep them a little in check as can be seen at Ueno Park where the annual Hanami season is about to take off.
It’s been barely a year when Chinese tourists were blasted in online media for climbing onto the Cherry Trees and destroying the branches for picture ops (see John’s article from last year here).
All nice and well, let’s hope the effort from the Japanese Tourist officials pays off and at the same time they won’t flood Japan with unacceptable actions and bad manners like last year. I’ll visit Ueno Park again this weekend and have my camera ready. Unfortunately I missed it when my friend yelled at one of them last week for again touching a branch that had a fresh blossom on it.