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So what are tourism practitioners like you doing to welcome China’s big shoppers?


Los Angeles’s Tourism Office has opened a handful of offices across China, which actively market on Chinese social media platforms and search engines such as Weibo, WeChat, and Baidu. Te city also implemented its China-Ready program, which helps educate operators, provides language and cultural assistance, and gives marketing advice. Universal Studios now offers a park tour in Mandarin, while the Getty provides Chinese audio guides, maps, and markets on Weibo and WeChat as well. Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas set up WeChat pay, a popular Chinese mobile payment system similar to Apple Pay. Tiffany & Co., which made almost a quarter of its United States revenue last year from foreign tourists, has added Mandarin-speaking sales staff to its major stores, as has Burberry, where more than half of sales at its flagship stores are to tourists. Montblanc sells Year of the Dragon pens and has staff members who speak Mandarin and Cantonese, while also printing Chinese-language brochures about its products and selling wallets sized for Chinese currency.


Malls aren’t giving up either – they’re merely adapting to a desire for a full-day experience of place-making. Te Minneapolis Business Journal found that the Mall of America is Minnesota’s most valuable real estate asset, and there are plans to grow Te Mall’s footprint by nearly another million square feet. Tis mall, and others,


thrive by providing a solid entertainment mix – including bowling alleys, comedy clubs, laser tag, ropes courses, and more. Additionally, malls are upgrading to more luxury dining options and brands – those that can’t be easily, and authentically, purchased from large online retailers. From the 375-store Galleria in Houston to the Shops at Crystals in Las Vegas to the Bal Harbour Shops near Miami, shopping centers with brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton are reporting healthy revenues. Retailers are also upgrading their technology, offering same-day delivery through Uber and Deliv, or implementing virtual smart mirrors in their dressing rooms that can summon sales clerks, try on clothes virtually, while some at Sephora mimic light at different times of the day to see how the makeup will look.


Adapting retail experiences to suit international travelers’ shopping preferences, interests, and comforts simply makes smart business sense. For more tips on welcoming guests from abroad, read the Business Development Bank of Canada’s “Six Easy Strategies to Attract More Foreign Visitors to Your Tourism Business.”


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