Spain, Europe’s second-most visited country after France, aims to welcome one million Chinese tourists in 2020, the government said recently. The country received 89,523 Chinese tourists in 2009, the last year for which figures are available, and Tourism Minister Miguel Sebastian said this figure should rise to 300,000 in 2012.
To increase the number of visitors from China, Spain plans to ease visa requirements for Chinese nationals, encourage more direct flights between the two countries and open more tourist offices in the Asian giant, he added. The government also plans to publish guides about Spain in mandarin and encourage restaurants and hotels to offer foods and opening hours that are more suited to Chinese tastes.
“This increase in the flow of tourists will increase knowledge about Spain in China and knowledge of China in Spain,” Sebastian said at a China-Spain business forum in Barcelona.
Spain has just two tourist offices in China, in Beijing and Guangzhou and Air China, China’s only national flag carrier, is currently the sole airline to offer direct flights between the two nations. The minister will present the government’s plan to boost tourist arrivals from China, the world’s most populous country, in Beijing on July 27.