I strongly suggest to Portuguese tourism offices, hotels etc., even to this newspaper, to read the article “Chinese tourists, coming to a beach near you” from April 19 in the paper “The Economist” (can be “googled” online or try this short link: http://bit.ly/1hOKSRd).
It not only describes the enormous potential that is unfolding right now, it can even be read as a guide to what to do.
Why does Portugal have perfect chances to benefit from this? Because the first places the Chinese often visit are Taiwan, Hong Kong and MACAO. Being a former Portuguese colony and having lots of Portuguese culture left (buildings, calçada, food, language, schools), this Casino haven (with six times the turnover of Las Vegas, and sharply rising) is the perfect business card for Portugal. Except that no one delivers a strong connection to what Portugal stands for to the Chinese. That’s what I found out when I was there last month. Worse, e.g. the impressive Casino Hotel ‘Lisboa’ is perceived as ITALIAN.
Portugal now offers the “golden visa” and as a country that is in the Schengen area it could (unlike the UK) be easily on the list of countries like France and Italy, the well-known “places to go” when Chinese tourists come to Europe.
So everybody in the tourism sector, do your homework: read this article, send hundreds of ambassadors to China to tell them that after seeing Macao, Portugal needs to be on the list of must-visit-countries in Europe, get training in how Chinese customers like to be treated… So tell them you exist and make sure they get what they like. Hotels, touristic and other establishments, (luxury) shops and the real estate sector will prosper.
Herb K., Vilamoura