“中国人还是和外国人很不一样。我带过一些国内素质很高的客户，至少他们不再随地吐痰，大声喧哗，他们都已经不愿意参加那些欧洲10天8国游了，都 在等着找点新的。但是，他们也还是要去大家都去的地方，买大家都买的东西，只是想别那么赶那么累，罢了。咱也别太新了，比如去了美国不去拉斯维加斯是不行 的。而且，购物还是要有的，否则，等他们回了家，没买到什么珍珠粉，维他命，或者去趟德国，没买到德国的菜刀，他们还怀疑是不是去错了地方。为什么别人都 去了的地方，我错过了？”
- 我觉得这里描述的中国游客要参团，一定要在自由女神前拍照，一定要最实惠地多走几个地方，不是中国人特有的，而是世界特有的。这叫旅游的大众市场，是旅游金字塔的最强大的基石。世界上的很多发达国家曾都有这个市场，而且仍然存在。 美国1969年有一部人人皆知的电影叫：If it’s Tuesday, This must be Belgium. 翻译过了叫“今天是星期二的话，那我们一定是在比利时。”电影描写的就是60年代，美国人刚刚开始到欧洲去旅行，因为好不容易出次国，所以一定要好好利用 这个机会，多走几个地方。他们当时的团才448.5美元－18天9国欧洲游！咱们中国人更不怕苦，所以可以10天8国 （当然梵蒂冈也算一国吧。）。 是随着时间的迁移，大家旅游经验的增加，才慢慢意识到，这种旅行真累！还可以参团，但是别那么赶。
- 旅游购物也是人之常情。 人旅行时喜欢买东西也是很可以理解的，买家乡买不到的。我自己就在乌兰巴托买了差不多一万元的羊毛衫，给家人朋友都买了一件。为了买东西，把去博物馆的行 程都取消了。为什么，他们的羊绒质量特别好！昨天一个朋友说在美国发现了一个商店叫 WHOLE FOODS, 里面的东西好极了，全是质量可靠的有机产品，什么婴儿洗发水，维他命，之类的，一定得排到行程上。（其实这家店就是美国中上层人士的京客隆，以有机蔬菜水 果肉类而出名。） 是啊，中国有机产品没人相信，也难怪大家都愿意在国外消费，LV 店里的包总假不了吧。
- 但是，我反感的是零团费的进折扣店购物。 我坚决相信，零团费的团，永远不能为高端市场服务。这个经济模式有一个最根本的问题，它本身在刺激导游引导你买不该买的东西，或者出更多的钱看什么无聊的秀。如果一个导游总在心里攒着怎么让客人多购物，那他很难把心思用来客服上。就好像不给医生付诊断看病费，而让医生从卖药来挣回扣一样。结果如何？有病 没病，先开500块钱的药，打打点滴再说。感冒也打点滴？不该开的药也得给你开一大堆，不该照的X光也让你多照。 从此，因为大家都照了X光，而我不照就是亏了。美国的医疗体系，尽管有她自身太多的问题，但是医生收取高昂的诊费至少保证了他没有必要让我吃不该吃的药。当然，这也不仅仅是中国的问题。在很多国家，比如埃及，游客购物，导游拿回扣也是常事。在美国，导游从大峡谷imax影院拿到折扣票，全价卖给游客，也是常有的。旅游没有涉及到生死的那么大问题，但我觉得旅游行业过于激烈的低价竞争最终受苦的是消费者。再者，购物和附加演出都是很容易规模化，佣金化的旅游项目。这无疑产生了更大的经济动力鼓励旅游行业朝丽江模式发展吗？那么，对环境和资源消耗小一些的生态旅游和其他的可持续旅游，自然而然地就处于劣势。
- 最后一点就是对服务的态度。中国人太多，愿意提供服务的人很多，所以人工便宜，大家都对服务提供者不用太尊重。大家都不觉得导游有太多的技术含量，所以在 美国，可以把中餐馆里洗碗的叫出了，换件衣服，开个车，就是司兼导。其实，很多这样的导游完全生活在一个美国社会的华人圈里，对很多美国社会怎么运转并不 是很了解。但问什么不能有一些对美国社会更了解的人做导游呢？价钱！又回到零团费或低团费的团，旅行商不可能按照美国的基本工资付导游费。中国的游客也接 受不了按劳动小时付费的情况。结果，才会出现，导游和游客常常对立，对服务不满而纠纷。客导双方都有责任。
Pristine Lake Lucerne, gorgeous views of the Swiss Mountains, and of course, the world’s most coveted chocolate—it comes to no surprise to WildChina that the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) awarded Lucerne, Switzerland as the 2012 Summit Host. Held from October 8-11th, 2012, WildChina founder and ATTA advisory board member Mei Zhang will not only look forward to exchanging ideas with other attendees on such topics as the future of sustainable and adventurous travel, but will also enjoy exploring Lucerne. WildChina is also staying tuned to learning more about what happens at the 2011 ATTA world summit which is being held in Chiapas, Mexico in just a few short weeks.
Hello from WildChina!
Over the past year, I have received numerous e-mails from many of you telling me how WildChina helped you experience a ‘real’ China. In particular, I really appreciate that a vast majority of the compliments focused on WildChina’s human touch and our guides. Your feedback detailed how our guides often go out of their way to give you the sense that you’re experiencing an authentic China. They do more than show you the sites; they give you insight, helping you to better understand the people and the diverse stories of a complex and fast-changing nation.
I would love it if you could spread this news to let readers of Travel + Leisure know that WildChina is the company that can provide this increasingly rare, yet increasingly important type of service for interested travelers. I owe it to my guides and my wonderful staff back in China to show them that people around the world think that they are doing a great job.
Many of you have asked how you can help. One way would be to vote for WildChina before the March 31, 2011. To do so, just follow these simple steps:
2. Select YES or NO; then click ENTER.
3. Fill in the Tell Us About You
4. Select Tour Operators/Safari Outfitters
5. Select WildChina
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Of course, if you feel that WildChina can improve our services, we would still love to hear your thoughts so that we can work to address problem areas. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks for your continued support, and we look forward to hearing from you.
Founder of WildChina
In Mark Graham’s late September South China Morning Post article, “On the inside track,” the author quotes a Chinese couple expressing their changing thoughts on tourism at home: ”We want to explore [China] more and more; it’s something my parents’ generation could not do.”
The couple’s comments are reflective of a generational shift in Chinese travel. As the mystery, grandeur and beauty of China’s many diverse areas becomes increasingly accessible to its own people, the Chinese are choosing domestic travel over international – and at a rapid rate.
However, these tourists aren’t choosing cookie-cutter tour buses and factory shops – wealthy Chinese now want to explore their roots in an authentic, eco-friendly way, with customized ‘green’ travel.
Photo credit: My Shanghai Noodles
Read what WildChina’s Mei Zhang has to say about the direction of travel for domestic Chinese tourists and how it’s shaping the industry. Download the full article from the WildChina website (listed in ‘WildChina in the News’ under ‘September 2010′), or read it on the South China Morning Post website if you are a subscriber.
When I first came to the Adventure Travel World Summit in Quebec last year, I didn’t know anyone. I was one of two people from China, and I didn’t know the other. So I had no idea what to expect. I was feeling a bit like an outsider.
Then I went on the beautiful adventure day hike, donning my comfy Eddie Bauer down jacket. On the hike, I met two of my best friends since, Judith Fein and Andy Levine (@Duvine). We shared the joys and pains of running your own business, and shared tips on how to crack the Travel + Leisure A List. I was feeling like, “hey, I like this. This is a bunch of hiker/business people that I could hang out with.” Sort of like my own tribe.
Over the next few days, I met more people and shed tears over other people’s travel stories. Most importantly, I fell in love with adventure travel business again.
I don’t know about you, but for me, when back at home base, I often get bogged down by the mundane details of a cancelled flight, a 3am client phone call or the balancing act of figuring out staff year end bonuses. The business often becomes just another business, with the glamour and fun of adventure already having worn off. It’s at times like these that I asked myself why I was in this business. It’s a lot of work and it doesn’t pay much. I could have been a venture capitalist in a different life.
Then I come to an event like this one, and realize that I just love connecting with people. I love the great outdoors and enjoy sharing with others what I love. How lucky am I to be able to make a profession out of a passion? And, even better, there are a lot of us like minded people here. We are the lucky bunch, and we just love what we do!
So, when Shannon invited me to join the ATTA advisory board, I was delighted. Now I have more excuses to go on adventures and connect with like-minded people. Just like last night, I met Frank Murphy from Tahiti. How often do you get to meet someone from Tahiti? Not to mention someone with an Irish last name (@tahitimurphy)?
The theme of this year’s Summit is Share & Inspire. I want to remind us all that sharing and inspiring is a two-way street. Everyone has a story to tell, and a simple story may inspire another person in a way you didn’t expect. So, I want to encourage all of you to extend your hand and meet the one next to you. Share your story and enjoy the conference. And who knows, next year, you may be on stage doing what Praveen and I are doing right now.
Learn more about the 2010 Adventure Travel World Summit, held in Scotland, and read more of Mei’s blog entries on the WildChina blog.