The (Non) Story About Tourism

A story that tourism in China was down by almost 2% started out on China Daily and has spread recently. Beijing's tourism in August (the Olympics) was down 7% from last year. The statistic was reached by looking into the number of foreigners staying overnight (I'm assuming in hotels) around China during the first 10 months of 2008. First, it would seem like the most logical and accurate way to calculate this would be to base it on number of tourist visas granted.

Why is this a non-story? Shouldn't China be worried about the tourism downturn? The answer is a resounding no. It would seem to make no sense why tourism was down in August, but it was a purposeful plan of the government. These Olympics were for the Chinese and while foreign tourism was down, I'm sure the number of domestic tourists was way up. The article confirms that overall, domestic tourism "remained strong". Further, Beijing's shops and restaurants hardly suffered during the Olympics, if the news and anecdotal stories are accurate. Plus, while the number of tourists were down, that doesn't include the number of athletes, journalists, and business executives that came to China for the Olympics and Paralympics, who, after the Games (or their events), were basically tourists.

While Chinese tourism may suffer a bit during 2009 due to the global financial meltdown, the reality is that 2008 wasn't as bad as some are reporting.