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International Focus: All Eyes on China

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International Focus: All Eyes on China 

by Catherine Reynolds, RCI

In terms of travel and tourism, China is leading the race! Over the last two decades, the volume of international trips by Chinese travelers grew from 10 million (in 2000) to 83 million (in 2012), and domestic tourism reported 3.3 billion trips in 2013, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). When you consider that travelers from China are the top source of tourism spending in the world, it’s no wonder that travel industry leaders are focused on this hotspot.

Several factors have fueled this significant growth: rapid urbanization, rising disposable incomes, and the relaxation of government restrictions on foreign travel. In fact, the Chinese government has a five-year plan focused on the travel and tourism market and aims to double leisure spending to $886 billion (5.5 trillion yuan) by 2020.

This is all excellent news for the vacation ownership industry! The percentage of qualified households that own a timeshare rests at less than 0.3 percent, making for a nearly 20 million household opportunity (ARDA’s International Foundation 2013 World Wide Shared Vacation Ownership Report). Timeshare development in the region is growing and poised for a supportive business environment—given the government’s direction to develop new business models for the travel industry.

The only challenge continues to be China’s few vacation days offered to workers. However, that, too, is slowly changing. The government adopted new regulations in 2008 offering more public holidays and paid annual leave. And, as the needs of China’s travelers are growing, the vacation ownership industry stands ready to create luxurious vacation experiences for a new class of world travelers. 

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