Tag Archives: travel

Bombardier Awarded Contract For 80 “Super High Speed” Trains In China

Implications For Second- And Third-Tier Cities, Consumers Immense As High Speed Rail Set To Increase Connectivity

Bombardier's ZEFIRO technology features maximum operating speeds of 380 kph (Image courtesy Bombardier)

Bombardier's ZEFIRO technology features maximum operating speeds of 380 kph (Image courtesy Bombardier)

China’s already extensive, but in some places aging, rail system has benefitted greatly from the government’s massive stimulus spending over the last twelve months. Earlier this year, the New York Times noted that the Chinese stimulus plan — which targeted, among other infrastructure projects, highways and railroads — could likely be a key part of the development of China’s interior cities, many of which have yet to reap the same benefits of the country’s economic growth as their much larger, east-coast counterparts like Shanghai:

The [Chinese] stimulus plan, one of the world’s largest, promises to carry the modernity of China’s coasts deep into the hinterlands, buying the kind of great leap forward it took the United States decades — and a world war — to build, and priming China for a new level of global competition.

China will spend $88 billion constructing intercity rail lines, the highest priority in the plan. It spent $44 billion last year and just $12 billion as recently as 2004, said John Scales, the transport coordinator for China at the World Bank.

As 2009 nears its end, China’s investment in rail infrastructure has not slowed, and in fact remains relatively sustained, due to the size both of the stimulus package and the country itself. Recently, Bombardier Sifang — Bombardier’s Chinese joint venture — nabbed an enviable contract to sell 80 “super high speed” trains to China, a contract worth an estimated US$4 billion (27.4 billion yuan). From China Daily:

CSR Bombardier Sifang (Qingdao) Transportation Ltd, a joint venture of Canadian train maker Bombardier and CSR Sifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock Ltd, signed a 27.4 billion yuan contract with the Shanghai Railway Bureau, under which the company will build 80 high-speed trains.

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Luxury China Travel Agent Unveils Shanghai Expo Packages

Mandarin Journeys’ 2010 World Expo Package To Target High-End Foreign Travelers During Shanghai’s “Coming Out Party”

The Shanghai World Expo is expected to attract upwards of 70 million visitors

The Shanghai World Expo is expected to attract upwards of 70 million visitors

Mandarin Journeys, a “Western-run, China based luxury tour operator,” has announced an innovative tour package for visitors to Shanghai’s 2010 World Expo, set to take place from May 1 to October 31 of next year. According to a press release, the luxury tours will be designed in association with some of the leading hotels of Shanghai:

Working with such exclusive properties as Langham, Hyatt, Portman Ritz-Carlton, PuLi and JW Marriott, Mandarin Journeys presents a comprehensive selection of Expo tour packages targeted at a worldwide discerning client base.

Based in China and operated by former tour managers and long-term Western expatriates the company caters to independent travelers from Europe, the United States and Australia. Our destinations include China & Tibet, Japan, Central Asia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.


Mainland Shoppers Set To Flock To HK For Golden Week

1.8 Million Tourists And Shoppers Made The Trip Last Year; Will This Year See Similar Figures?

Photo Courtesy Hong Kong Tourism Board

Photo Courtesy Hong Kong Tourism Board

Hong Kong retailers, hoteliers and merchants of all shapes and sizes are getting ready for the second of two “Golden Weeks” which take place annually in China — the first celebrating Chinese New Year and the second beginning on National Day (Oct. 1) and continuing through the Mid-Autumn Festival (Oct. 3) until finally ending on the 8th. For Hong Kong’s luxury retailers, Golden Week has traditionally provided a much-needed boost to their sales, particularly as fall begins and the flow of foreign tourists slows down significantly.

For many mainlanders, however, Golden Week is a chance to hop over the border and do some serious shopping. As Hong Kong retailers aren’t saddled with the same high sales and luxury taxes as those in the mainland, shoppers from throughout China often take advantage of the timing of Golden Week to enjoy the cultural ambiance of Hong Kong while stocking up on expensive products that would — at home — cost up to double the price.

Today, the New York Times Globespotters blog gives a glimpse into the fun (and chaos) of Golden Week in Hong Kong, when millions of shoppers (many of whom have saved up throughout the year for their HK shopping spree) converge on this small but densely-packed city to queue up for hours and open their wallets:

European designer emporiums, jewelers and gold shops will all be packed, as mainland Chinese rush to buy goods that are both cheaper, and more likely authentic, than back home. (Unlike China, Hong Kong has no sales or luxury taxes.) For upscale shopping, avoid the crowds by trying department stores like Lane Crawford instead.

As far as the local government is concerned, you can’t have too many festivals. During this hectic period, there is also the Hong Kong International Arts and Antiques Fair from Oct. 3 to 6, and the Hong Kong International Jazz Festival from Oct. 1 to 15. Jazz and antiques aren’t big Chinese tourist draws, so they might be another way to escape from the maddening crowds.

In addition to these festivals and events, this year’s Golden Week will also coincide with Sotheby’s Autumn Auction of Contemporary Chinese and Asian Artwork, taking place on October 6 in Hong Kong. It’ll be a great opportunity for luxury buyers who have come over from the mainland to bid on some domestic contemporary artists and maybe take home a few Yue Minjuns, Zeng Fanzhis or Cai Guo-Qiangs in addition to the boatloads of Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Rolexes they’re going to tote back over the border.

World’s Largest River-Liner Sets Sail In China

The Victoria Jenna Offers Exceptional Views Of Southwest China, Departing From Chongqing, Sichuan Province

Tourists can expect luxurious surroundings as they take in the spectacular views of the Yangtze River aboard the five-star Victoria Jenna (Image: PR)

Tourists can expect luxurious accommodations as they take in spectacular views of the Yangtze River aboard the five-star Victoria Jenna (Image: PR)

Domestic travel has taken off in the last 10 to 20 years in China, with tourists scouring the country looking for unique locales and accommodations as travel has become more effortless and affordable. Although many high-end travelers still head abroad for their vacations, a rising number of upper-middle-class and middle-class Chinese travelers have looked inward to discover areas they had never seen while embarking on new tourism opportunities, particularly in the fast-rising southern and southwestern provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guangxi.

Recently, the American-built Victoria Jenna, at 133.8 meters long and 18.8 meters wide currently the world’s largest five-star river liner, set off from southwest China’s Chongqing city, attracting a flood of reservations and interest from primarily Chinese tourists. Currently, luxury cruises on the Victoria Jenna are sold out until some time next year. For tourists looking for a unique, yet still luxurious, way to see China’s subtropical southwest, with its immense rivers, traditional villages, and lush foliage, river cruises like that offered in Sichuan could become a very popular option in coming years.

As CRI English notes, a cruise aboard the Victoria Jenna is anything but cheap — but for the upscale clientele this cruise line is meant to serve, that might not be a problem:

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Chinese Tourist Groups Set To Depart For UAE And 8 Other Nations

Tour Operators Looking To Chinese Tourists To Give Tourism Industry A Shot In The Arm

China began direct flights to Dubai in 2006. Soon, tour groups will be able to obtain visas much more easily to travel to the UAE

China began direct flights to Dubai in 2006. Soon, tour groups will be able to obtain visas much more easily to travel to the UAE

In recent years, international agreements and relaxed travel laws have made it easier for Chinese tourists and tour groups to head abroad, and as the global tourism industry remains sluggish, Chinese tour groups look set to head overseas, to countries for which it was previously difficult or impossible to obtain visas. Among the countries that Chinese tourists will soon be able to visit in tour groups are the United Arab Emirates, which is projected to be among the most popular destinations for Chinese groups, as direct flights to Dubai have operated through China for quite some time.

Xinhua notes that the new law will take effect September 15, and it would seem that Dubai and the UAE will experience a jump in tourism (and its attendant capital inflow) from this new relaxation of travel restrictions:

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Dubai’s Jumeirah To Manage New Beach Resort In Hainan

Qing Shui Bay Resort In Sanya Follows Previous Jumeirah Agreements In Shanghai, Guangzhou and Macau


Hainan Island, the "Hawaii of China," has become a popular tourist destination for mainland Chinese and non-Chinese alike, attracting many major luxury hoteliers in recent years

Reuters reports today that Dubai’s Jumeirah Group has just signed an agreement with Hong Kong-based Agile Property Holdings to manage the new Jumeirah Qing Shui Bay Resort in Sanya, Hainan province — the southern island known by many as the “Hawaii of China.”
The new beach resort will join a number of other luxury hotels in the area, including the Ritz-Carlton, Banyan Tree, Le Méridien and Mandarin Oriental, and will be comprised of a 250-room hotel and 50 private villas. The resort is slated to open in 2013.

Although specifics on the cost of the project have not yet been released, AME Info sheds some additional light on the new project:

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China’s Airline Industry Headed For Clearer Skies

More High-End Travelers, Increased Domestic Business Travel, Helping Industry Perform Better Than Many Other Markets

China Eastern has grown rapidly in the last 15 years, increasing its domestic and international flight destinations

China Eastern has grown rapidly in the last 15 years, increasing its domestic and international flight destinations

In the last several years, air travel in China has “taken off” among younger travelers, who traditionally take long-distance sleeper trains when traveling between provinces or far-flung destinations. While this has been great for domestic airlines such as China Southern or Air China, recent moves have indicated what many people find obvious — that Chinese airlines like the growing number of economy travelers, but love the growing number of luxury or business travelers, who have no qualms about plunking down top dollar for longer domestic or international flights.

The Financial Times recently wrote on the current state of the Chinese airline industry, which is performing very well despite concerns that a potential drop in travelers may dent their earnings. Despite this, the difference between the successes of Chinese airlines and the woes of American or European airlines are, in many ways, like night and day:

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