The Chinese overseas tourist market is thriving, with the BBC reporting previously that the Chinese have become the single greatest source of global tourism income after spending over $100 billion while travelling abroad in 2012. The start of 2015 also saw over 100 million outbound Chinese tourists, which say the European market benefit significantly from this. The impressive rate seen in the growth of tourist expenditure in China really reflects the direction of the Chinese economy. There is an expanding number of middle class Chinese people with higher disposable incomes and with a greater desire for international good, products and experiences. The landscape of global tourism is transforming as we know it.
With European countries like the UK looking to make the process of visiting the county easier through easier visa application processes, the trend of Chinese tourists being drawn to Europe is likely to grow from strength to strength. This will also ultimately impact the way that Europeans interact with Asia and may improve travel opportunities and the cost of travel too.
The most used and easiest route from Europe to China (and China to Europe) is via the Trans-Siberian Railway. The route is lengthy but very scenic and comfortable and has been celebrated more since Joanna Lumley’s latest documentary which highlighted some of the most spectacular points along its route. There is another route, however, that is becoming increasingly more used in commuting to and from China and Europe- the Silk Route via Kazakhstan. If you are looking to travel between Europe and China, then the main Trans-Siberian route is faster and easier to arrange both in terms of tickets and visas. The Trans-Siberian railways will be able to get you from Beijing to Moscow, from which train travel or flights to Europe are easy to catch and save a lot of time while offering a unique travel experience.
The Silk Route takes a little longer in comparison to the Trans-Siberian Railway and takes a little more thought and organisation- there will be a need for more visa, train tickets and stopovers to sort out. It is important to note for anyone travelling from Europe to Beijing that both train routes end in Moscow and from here there are daily trains and flights to London and other European destinations. It’s very easy to travel from London to Moscow by train, in 48 hours with comfortable sleepers on the modern Paris-Moscow Express. Direct sleepers trains run from Moscow to Paris, Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Berlin, Budapest, Helsinki and many other cities. Travellers will also need a Belarus visa as well as a Russian tourist’s visa.
In a time when airplane travel is on the rise and has seen the cost of such rise too, taking the train has become more popular. Furthermore, train travel offers travellers the opportunity to view the land there are travelling through from ground level, which can make the whole experience far more interesting and relaxing. It will be interesting to see what the future holds when it comes to creating easy and affordable transportation options between China and Europe!
If you are looking to travel back to Europe after paying a visit to China this year, then be sure to renew your European Health Insurance Card on this EHIC website and carry it with you alongside your travel insurance.