Canada has specifically decided to target it’s tourist marketing this year, and China is firmly in it’s aim. The number of Chinese visitors has gradually been climbing over the last few years however experts expect this to rise steeply in the next few years. The reason is that both countries have issued some important reciprocal agreements on entry visas.
Visas are often a neglected area of tourism, with travellers often dissuaded from countries with complex or restrictive visa requirements. Many countries have had these in place for China, often reflecting the restrictions that China has in place. However Canada and China have now agreed to relax many of these requirements and there are a variety of new visas available including some which are valid for up to ten years.
There is a another reason and that is the ongoing weakness of the Canadian dollar. This has obviously made it more difficult for Canadians to travel abroad particularly to places with a strong currency like the US dollar. However for places like the US and China travelling to Canada has become much more affordable. Canada has many other attractions of course, but another one for China is that many people have families and relatives who have migrated there. You only have to take a quick look at Canadian society to see the depth and breadth of different nationalities who live there.
There are many families who have settled in Canada over the last few decades. There are for example a huge British community across the country too and they have also become an important tourist market. In fact the popularity of tools which are used to access the BBC iPlayer in Canada has grown exponentially too – just like this one.
But it is China that is seen as the biggest growth area and one of the reasons that the Canadian Tourism Commission has focussed here. They have opened a branch in China and even staged several promotional events. On of the most notable is that of a short film which features the Taiwan model Godfrey Gao who introduces several activities and experiences available to those who visit Canada. Their focus is on food, wine, leisure and arts – with the hope that these will attract the rather more well heeled visitor who spends money in the Canadian economy.