Food and Chinese Outbound Tourism

by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS

Two years ago, eight Chinese outbound tourists spent more than US$ 4,000 at Abu Ghosh, a famous restaurant in Jerusalem. The chief executive of the Israeli Incoming Tour Operators Association started a public debate by publishing a copy of the bill in an Israeli financial newspaper, accusing the owner of the restaurant of cheating his customers and creating a bad image of Israel as a destination. Global media and the Israeli Embassy in China got involved. Mainland Chinese official media however ignored the “incident” and discussions in Chinese social media, based on international media coverage, mostly agreed that, for the Chinese, there is nothing unusual about spending $500 per head on a lavish dinner.

Food is an important part of the Chinese culture, and knowledge about international cuisines has become another element of “social capital” sophisticated Chinese have to acquire next to the big car, expensive apartment, branded clothing and accessoires and international travel experience. Nine out of ten outbound travellers wish to try “local specialities”, but Chinese travellers with a high individual income and most young tourists prefer not only to taste, but actually to learn about and eat local food.

COTRI together with Dragon Trail has published a China Outbound Travel Pulse Video about this topic, but if you happen to be in Perth, Western Australia on the 25th, you can learn much more about the topic of food and beverages and Chinese tourists during a special symposium organised by the Tourism Research Cluster (TRC) of Curtin University together with the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC).

Your humble author has been invited to give a keynote about the topic during the symposium. The recently published book ‘Food, Wine and China: A Tourism Perspective’ (edited by Curtin professors Christof Pforr and Ian Phau, with a chapter on – you guessed it – Chinese outbound tourism and food and beverages by your humble author) will be officially launched during the event.

The good news is that the symposium is free of charge, the bad news that it is fully booked at the moment and you have to enter a waiting list and hope for the best.


Hope to see some of you in Perth!

Wolfgang Georg Arlt


PS.: The symposium ends at 2.30 p.m. local time, five and a half hours before the FIFA World Cup games Saudi Arabia – Egypt and Uruguay – Russia start, so no need to choose between work and play.