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More Chinese tourists visiting Central and Eastern Europe

By Bo Leung in London | China Daily UK | Updated: 2018-10-10 00:15
A tourist reading a book at Dolac markek in Zagreb, Croatia. [Photo/VCG]

A European Union initiative to attract more Chinese visitors is making "solid progress" with research showing more tourists heading to Central and Eastern regions of Europe.

The study by flights data specialist Forward Keys and the European Travel Commission, or ETC, found visitors from China heading to Central or Eastern EU destinations up by 10.3 percent between May and August this year. This is compared with the same period in 2017, while in the last four months of 2018, bookings are 9.4 percent ahead.

The report is part of the European Travel Commission's major strategic political initiative, EU-China Tourism Year, aimed at promoting Europe as a destination to the rapidly growing Chinese tourism market.

The study said the initiative has found success in promoting lesser-known destinations such as Estonia that has seen an increase of 45.3 percent, while Chinese arrivals in Bulgaria went up 43.4 percent.

The most popular destination among southern EU nations is Croatia, with Chinese arrivals in May to August up 46.2 percent, while bookings made between September and December are up 66.4 percent.

In August, the ETC approved funds to Croatian and Slovenian tourism authorities for their joint promotion in China,named Experience Croatia, Feel Slovenia which was designed to strengthen the visibility and reputation of the two counties on the Chinese market.

Overall, the report said that Chinese travellers to Europe are up 4 percent in the first eight months of 2018.

In September to December, Chinese bookings to European Union nations are up 4.7 percent on where they were at the same point last year.

The driving markets are Hong Kong, Macao and second-tier mainland cities, according to the findings.

During May to August growth from Hong Kong and Macao was 5.1 percent, while visits from Chengdu, Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen were up 13.5 percent.

The ETC's Executive Director Eduardo Santander said: "The growth in Chinese travellers has been solid and the near future, judging by current bookings, will see the EU continuing to increase its share of the valuable long-haul Chinese traveller market."

In contrast, however, the number of visits made to northern EU nations between May and August, were "disappointing", down 0.6 percent on 2017. Only 0.6 percent of bookings were taken for the last four months of 2018, for visits to the United Kingdom.

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