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Interview: With ADS, Canada set to offer Chinese visitors quality experience

06-28-2010 09:21 BJT

VANCOUVER, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Canada is rolling out the welcome mat for Chinese visitors now that it has secured its long awaited Approved Destination Status (ADS), but bargain-price trips won't be among the offerings according to officials in the country's tourism sector.

Canada joins a list of 130-plus nations and regions designated to receive Chinese travelers.
Canada joins a list of 130-plus nations and regions designated to receive
Chinese travelers.(File photo)

With Canada receiving the designation on Thursday during President Hu Jintao's state visit to Canada ahead of the G20 summit in Ontario this weekend, Chinese tourists can now visit the country in organized, pre-sold tourist groups.

Canada joins a list of 130-plus nations and regions designated to receive Chinese travelers. However, unlike some earlier experiences of Chinese tourists, Chris Jones, vice president of public affairs of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), said the Canadian industry needed to "avoid some of the occurrence that happened in Australia and New Zealand with the tours becoming low quality, commoditized, too much pressured shopping, that kind of stuff."

"What we have sought to do is least to make sure that the tours were going to be quality tours conducted by reputable operators who have the requisite insurance in place and are going to make sure they give the Chinese visitors a safe, quality and respectful experience."

Stephen Regan, president and CEO of the Vancouver-based Council of Tourism Associations, said the ADS is a designation and opportunity the industry needs "to work through very carefully."

"We don't really want to be out there as a discount destination, we want to make sure we get high-yield customers and that when they come back to Canada, to (his home province) British Columbia in particular, they really get to see the authentic, iconic Canadian attractions, we want to make sure we do this right."

Historically, the countries that have been granted ADS have experienced a 40 percent jump in Chinese tourists the first year, increasing to more than 50 percent after two years. Canada received 160,833 Chinese visitors last year.

The Ottawa-based Jones said speculatively Chinese visitors to Canada could reach 234,000 arrivals within a year or two.

"Even through the recession the Chinese market pre-ADS is the only one that has stayed in positive territory. So we're confident now that we're getting out of the recession and China's economy seems healthy and Canada's is reasonably healthy, with ADS we should stand to gain from increases in the number of visitors in that market."

Unlike destinations like Thailand, and even Hong Kong, Regan said Canada would unlikely to be a cheap destination for Chinese, mainly because of its distance. It takes a minimum of 10 hours to fly to Vancouver, the closest international Canadian airport to China.

Both Air China and China Eastern Airlines are offering daily flights to Canada, while national carrier Air Canada is looking at increasing its China coverage.


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