Pollution impacts tourism in China and Beijing

Figures are not good for the touristic industry in China. The air pollution has become a threat for the whole industry and you can measure it, the number of foreign tourists decreased by 5% within the 7 first months of the year compared with the same period in 2012, according to the figures published by the Chinese National Tourism Administration.


The total number of foreign visitors in China has been around 15 million people between january and july.


The tourists that have most deserted China are the Asians (-7,19%) the Americans (2,77%) and the Europeans (-1.93%). Beijing is especially strtuck by this decrease with 14,3% less tourists for the first semester, with a total of 2.14 million tourists.


According to the Xinhua agency, the official Chinese press agency, the main responsability come from the air pollution and this means a lot of things are at stake with 9.3% of Chinese GNP being the touristm industry, 22.7 millions Chinese citizens work in this field (3% of the Chinese working force) and 577 billion euros turnover.


The Chinese authorities are trying to communicate more about pollution and reassure the tourists, new measures have been taken to fight the air issues. A national campain called “Beautiful China” is aimed at Europeans and American tourists. Some tourists bureau are even opening facebook pages and websites and the Shandong is investing in tourism communcation.


In Beijing, the decrease is the first one since 2008, and can even be surprising since in 2013 you can transit in China without visa for 5 days, a measure that was designed for tourism.


Actually pollution is probably not the only reason. Economic difficulties are the cause of the withdrawal. For Japanese tourists, the figure is impressive, less 50% because of the country’s difficulties and a very bad change rate for the Yen.


Beijing is investing a lot in the tourism, around 4 billion dollars have been invested by the Beijing municipal bureau, these efforts could be in vain since the tourists satisaction have been very low in 2013, with dramatic pollution in january.


In the meantime, domestic tourism is doing well in China with an emerging middle class tat can afford to discover its own country. This corresponds to massive investments all over the country sometimes with mistakes being done, but overall the hotels are more welcoming and comply with western standards, while China has a huge touristic potential with protected desertic environments, large cities, jungles, rice terraces…

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