Are your events China-ready?
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada proclaimed 2018 as the Canada-China Year of Tourism, and with direct flights between Beijing and Montréal-Trudeau International Airport in place since 2015, our city has welcomed more visitors from China than ever before. Those in tourism will tell you that travellers from China have certain expectations and wants while visiting, and cities all over the world are responding in kind with specialized tours and other considerations. But when it comes welcoming Chinese delegates and attendees to your events, what can you do to make sure you’re China-ready?
Understand the culture
Chinese social and cultural norms differ from North America in various ways, and keeping tabs on the whens, hows, wheres and whys of these differences will ensure that your Chinese attendees feel welcome and at home. Make sure your team is mindful of religious beliefs, non-verbal communication, gender roles, food and drink consumption differences and communication styles when dealing with visitors. Commisceo Global’s article on Chinese custom and culture is chock full of helpful pointers.
Within a business context, there are other considerations to keep on top of throughout the entire interaction, including greetings, levels of formality, gift giving and the exchanging of business cards. The Government of Canada’s website has created a series of 11 useful checklists for tourism specialists to properly serve Chinese visitors which are also very useful in an events context.
Roll out the red carpet
Share and workshop this information with your event team to make sure everyone’s on the same page, and bring in locals fluent in Chinese to make them feel more at home. Once they’re in town, provide your Chinese guests with food options to suit their palate, shopping locations offering desirable designer goods and make sure they’re never without a great Wi-Fi connection both on-site and in their accommodations – Chinese attendees love to stay connected to stay in touch with their families at home and process the places they’re visiting. To ensure your Chinese attendees can make the most of their experience in the city, Tourisme Montréal is working in collaboration with OTT Financial to bring two of China’s largest mobile payment apps – WeChat Pay and Alipay – to Montréal, a preferred method of paying for Chinese visitors.
Tourisme Montréal gets the industry “China-ready”
Tourisme Montréal’s BONJOUR CHINE one-day course was also introduced this spring to educate local members of the tourism industry in effectively welcoming and serving Chinese tourists in Montréal. Selecting an already-prepared city like Montréal when planning your event is a great first step.
Making sure you’ll be China-ready is less daunting than it sounds. By keeping a finger on the pulse of Chinese custom and expectation, you’ll be enjoying your time with your Chinese guests as much as they’ll be enjoying your well-planned event.
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