Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Is there anything the Chinese can't do cheaper?

I don't remember the Lou Dobbs episode where the American economy outsourced all of its obnoxious tourists, but apparently it's true:
About 32 million Chinese ventured overseas last year, a sixfold increase over 1997 and a fiftyfold increase since 1985, with 100 million projected annually by 2020....

China recently surpassed Japan as the Asian nation with the most overseas tourists, prompting more hotels worldwide to include Chinese programming, decorate rooms in "auspicious" red shades, relocate beds away from windows in the interest of feng shui and serve rice porridge for breakfast....

China's early travelers also tend to focus on superlatives, experts say, with Moscow's Red Square and London's Trafalgar dismissed as "not nearly as big as Tiananmen." They tend to be unimpressed with several-hundred-year-old Japanese and European buildings, seen as crumbling upstarts with little charm through the prism of China's 5,000-year history....

For many overseas travelers, sampling the local cuisine is a key part of their experience. Chinese, however, tend to want all Chinese all the time, even if it's really bad food made for foreign taste buds. "No, we didn't try any foreign food," Guo said.
Now that sounds familiar. Americans should feel better: Nothing will do more to hurt China's rising image than a few tens of millions of Chinese tourists doing what wealthy obnoxious tourists do all the time.

1 comment:

celestialspeedster said...

"Chinese, however, tend to want all Chinese all the time."

I question the integrity of any statement that encompasses the actions of 1.3 billion people.

However, I think a more accurate stereotype would be "Chinese want to eat anything at any time". One popular chinese travel show features its hosts eating their way across the globe. Local sites of interests are shown as mere pitstops as the hosts make their way to the next restaurant. And the featured dishes are hardly limited to Chinese cuisine.