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Modern behaviour amid continuing economic worries

Modern behaviour amid continuing economic worries

Dear reader,

One of the fixed common knowledge items about China is that food plays a vital role. Some Chinese friends used to tell me that Freud got it wrong: The most important thing in life is not sex but food: More variation, and free choice, can be enjoyed in old age, and experience can be shared with more people at the same time.

Therefore, it will surprise many people that diets are a big topic in China and in Chinese social media and that the No. 1 diet is intermittent fasting, which means not eating for 16 hours a day or even for one or two days per week completely. The second most preferred diet is Keto, reducing the intake of carbohydrates.

Such diets translate into skipping meals and/or not eating rice, noodles, or dumplings. In China! Anybody for health tourism, slimming resorts, and lots of sports abroad?

In Mandarin Chinese, 要 (yào) can mean “I want” as well as “I need to”. Maybe that is the reason why some Chinese students think that modern behaviour is compulsory. The German chancellor Scholz visited China in the last few days and included a dialogue with students from the Tongji University in Shanghai, which has strong historical relations with Germany. One student anxiously told the politician that he would go to Germany for studies later in the year. However, he heard in the news that Cannabis consumption became legal in Germany a few weeks ago. He very clearly stated that he does not want to smoke grass, as this is illegal in China and – he had been told - not good for his health. So, will he be forced to do this now in Germany? Chancellor Scholz could reassure the poor young men that nobody would force him to take up this habit and that he himself never tried in 66 years.

The main concern of the German delegation obviously is not to promote Hashish (or Opium like in the times of Karl Gützlaff) but to repair the economic relations between the two countries. Germany is still investing a lot while complaining about unfair treatment and a lack of a level playing field at the same time. China stands accused of flooding the global markets with EVs, solar panels, semiconductors, and other heavily discounted goods that do not find customers in China itself, competing with lower prices with European products. Even though, exports from China fell dramatically in March 2024 by more than seven percent compared to March 2023.

Exports of cars increased from one million in 2020 to five million in 2023, with 25% of them being New Electric Vehicles (NEVs). In the Chinese domestic market, the market share of German car brands is shrinking and will soon fall below the 20% mark.

How China’s outbound tourism is reacting to the ongoing economic troubles will be the figures for the first quarter of 2024 after they become available. Anecdotal evidence does not point to strong growth, even though several Chinese airlines are increasing their international capacity. They are still using Russian airspace for Europe-China routes, which gives them an advantage over Lufthansa, Air France, and other European airlines. Hainan Airlines reopened two weeks ago the connection Beijing-Seattle, the shortest route between China and Mainland USA.

Vietnam reported for the first quarter of 2024 about 890,000 arrivals from Mainland China, roughly 70% of the 1.28 million for the same period in 2019. Another winner continues to be Maldives, which could welcome more than 67,000 Mainland Chinese visitors in Q1 2024, close to the 76,000 in Q1 2019.

A gentle reminder: On the 16th of May, the first day of GITF, the CTW Chinese Tourist Welcome Award 2024 ceremony will be held. The application period has started. As you hopefully know, the CTW Chinese Tourist Welcome Award has been held annually by COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute since 2004. Do not miss the chance to gain widespread exposure through the coverage of the award and the winners in international printed and digital media publications.

Following the CTW Award 2024 ceremony, on the next day May 17th, 2024, COTRI will organize again a major international tourism conference organised by COTRI.

For applications just send a short mail to CTW.award@meaningful-tourism.com, stating your interest to apply and you will get back the application form to fill out and send back together with available links, documents, etc. showing what new initiatives, projects. The deadline for applications is April 26th, 2024.

As always, best regards from Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the entire COTRI INTELLIGENCE team!