Argentina gears up to welcome a growing number of Chinese visitors
Buenos Aries, the capital of Argentina. /VCG Photo

Buenos Aries, the capital of Argentina. /VCG Photo

Argentina is banking on the old adage to attract more Chinese tourists, and the strategy is part of "Hilton Huanying" program that derives from the Chinese word "welcome."

The program is backed by research that revealed the preferences of today's Chinese travelers, including starting the day with a traditional breakfast featuring a range of rice congee, steamed buns, shrimp dumplings and hard-boiled eggs, among others.

The program is an initiative already in place at more than 150 Hilton hotels around the world, but relatively new to the property in Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, the first Latin American city to offer it.

According to the hotel, after the program was launched, bookings by Chinese tourists rose 160 percent per night compared to last year, with an average stay by Chinese tourists of 2.15 nights.

Gonzalo Tordini, head of educational affairs at the Latin American Center on Chinese Political and Economic Studies, said Argentina is keen to tap into China's booming outbound tourism to help its flagging domestic economy.

"In 2018, 150 million Chinese traveled abroad as a result of the spectacular rise of the middle class. They seek to learn about other cultures, contemplate new landscapes and have enriching experiences," Tordini said.

Buenos Aires is an attractive destination for Chinese travelers given its culture, cuisine and passion for football. But the country offers a wide variety of sights, such as Patagonia to the south, a region characterized by the beauty of its glaciers, lakes and mountains.

Argentina is also taking other steps to boost tourism from China, including easing the visa application process and working to improve air connectivity.

According to data from the Argentine Ministry of Tourism, between 2011 and 2017 the arrivals of Chinese tourists to Argentina increased steadily, reaching around 60,000 tourists.

In 2017, 10-year visas were issued to Chinese citizens traveling to Argentina for tourism or business purposes.

In August 2018, Chile and Argentina announced an agreement for the reciprocal recognition of visas for Chinese tourists starting January 2019.

Source(s): China Daily