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TTC Special: Caribbean welcomes China

TTC Special: Caribbean welcomes China
By F. Martin

TTC Service.-China is increasingly interested in tourism cooperation with the Caribbean region.

An example is a new agreement that has recently been established with the Dominican Republic. But Chinese tourism interests in the Caribbean islands and Latin America are much wider.

And that is a reciprocal feeling.

China is stepping to become an important player in the Region with a 10 billion Dollars investment. The Chinese plan in the Dominican Republic is to place itself in a even more prominent position in the Caribbean regional affairs.

It’s a good business for this part of the world. Between 2005 and 2017, the number of Chinese tourists taking international trips jumped from 31 million to 122 million. Emblematic of the country’s rapid economic ascension and growing middle class, Chinese tourists are reshaping the landscape of global tourism. That’s also a significant amount of money – those tourists spent $261b. And that money is not just big in aggregate, it’s also big compared to other countries: travelers from the US, the second outbound tourist market according to the UNWTO, spent $122b, or less than half.

The representative of the Chinese Office of Commercial Development in the Dominican Republic, Fu Xinrong, thanked the decision made by both countries’ presidents, Xi Jinping and the Dominican President Danilo Medina, for the strong diplomatic relations between both countries and stressed the China collaboration with the Dominican Republic in priority areas such as commerce and investment, infrastructure, manufacturing, tourism, advanced technology, energy, cultural exchange, education, and others.

Experts think that from now on, the Dominican Republic will face the challenge of managing its relations with China without affecting its relations with the United States, the main commercial partner of this Caribbean island. However, nobody expects tensions with Washington in this regard, especially in the tourism sector because there are no commercial conflicts that could really be affected.

Countries across Latin America made considerable efforts to engage with the Chinese opportunity.
In 2016 Colombia, through ProColombia, opened an official WeChat account to promote the country’s tourism sector; in late 2017 Promperu launched a Chinese language website with the goal of increasing tourism; Early in 2018 Argentina’s Nacional de Promoción Turística (Inprotur) partnered with Alibaba’s Fliggy; and in a rare show of solidarity, Argentina and Brazil have banded together to promote Iguazu Falls during a roadshow in China this May.

Recently ITB China, one of the largest industry gatherings, noted “a rising interest in China on both American continents” demonstrated by Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, and Peru attending for the first time.