| November 20, 2015

step 1 :

 

Write a short email to inform management at The Lee Institute of a current trend related to Chinese outbound tourists and one possible issue related to the trend. Keep in mind the purpose and audience of the email. 

 

STEP 2 Write a 150 – 200 word email

To help you decide what content to include in your email, have a look at the articles and sources provided in the reference list at the bottom of the case study. ( the case study is in attachments )

STEP 3 Format your email

Your email should include a subject line, salutation, body, final greeting, and a signature line.  For example:

Attachments:Case study

 

Use the strategies for critical reading that we have discussed this week and read through the case study carefully. Please note that the content of this text is fundamental for completion of Task 1, 2 and 3 in Week 4, 5 and 6 respectively. To get a deeper understanding of the topic, explore the links to news articles and academic studies within the text.

 

Asian tourism, etiquette and travelling case

 

Kimberley Lee left the meeting at her head office in Shanghai, China with a smile, but something was still concerning her. True: business was good.  Ever since the United States obtained Approved Destination Status (ADS) in 2007 (Li et al., 2011), the number of China’s outbound tourists has increased significantly. According to Forbes.com, China’s government statistics show that between April 2013 and March 2014 about 102 million border crossings took place as more Chinese citizens were traveling to see the world. Since 2008, Kimberley’s company, The Lee Institute, has enjoyed great success in teaching etiquette classes to the business ‘elite’ of China who wish to travel abroad. In fact, the company’s latest revenue figures show an increase from last year, and the number of customers enrolling in her courses has been increasing on a monthly basis. But, she also realized that the market is currently more competitive than in 2008.

 

There have been increasing media reports about how the Chinese ‘elite’ are attending other programs that offer etiquette courses such as hers – with some media outlets suggesting that Western manners are the latest Chinese status symbol (Mangin, 2015; Sharp, 2014). It seems to be a new trend. A few years ago, Kimberly was ahead of the game, and the Lee Institute was one of the first companies to target the growing market of wealthy Chinese outbound tourists.  Now more and more companies are offering etiquette coaching, and Kimberley is becoming increasingly concerned that pretty soon, the China market would be saturated with etiquette courses such as hers. While she can always promise quality service and years of experience, she knows she may need to do something different.

 

The China context

 

It was reported in 2013 that the Chinese had become the world’s biggest spenders on international tourism (A.B., 2013). Since that time, however, countless media reports suggested a growing concern for both China and the inbound countries. Some in the inbound countries were becoming tired of the increasing number of ‘rude’ Chinese tourists. It seemed that various behavioral issues, cross-cultural misunderstandings, and small confrontations between Chinese tourists and people in the destination countries were hot topics in the news (Li, 2014; Sim, 2015; Haworth, 2013).  Although some news reports did come to China’s defense (Dalje.com, 2015), the image of the ‘rude’ Chinese tourist was strong. This was one of the reasons why China, wanting  to alleviate the Chinese tourist’s undesired reputation, updated its tourism laws in 2013 (CNTA, 2013).  In October of that year, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) publicised its 64-page Guidebook for Civilised Tourism, providing a list of dos and donts and advice on proper ettiquette when traveling as a tourist (Fernquest, 2014). They are now official guidelines that all Chinese tourists should follow when travelling.

 

The Lee Institute

 

Kimberley anticipated a niche market and a demand for etiquette coaching for Chinese travellers when she was studying as an MBA student at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. After graduating in 2008, she started The Lee Institute in Shanghai and immediately began marketing her course to the wealthy Chinese business people she had met in networking events during her MBA studies. She knew the increase of wealthy Chinese and China’s loosening of traveling restrictions for its citizens meant more outbound tourists. And she wanted to make it easy for the wealthy Chinese tourist to ‘fit in’ when traveling.

 

At first, Kimberley offered courses that taught high-end social etiquette, including expected behavior for social and business situations. Her courses introduced proper European dining manners, social greetings, and personal presentations. As middle-class incomes rose in China, and more Chinese began starting to travel, Kimberly added new courses that taught cross-cultural communication skills. Again, she focused both on social and business contexts.

 

Reaching out beyond the Chinese ‘elite’.

 

The Lee Institute has already started to expand its market to people in China who could not afford to attend the institute’s regular courses, but Kimberly believes there is a more promising market for her services outside of China. She recently read statistics provided by the CNTA, and there seems to be a growing number of inbound tourists to China from other Asian countries, with countries like Malaysia, India, Korean, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam in the top 15 tourist sources as of August 2013 (Ramzy, 2015). She  sees an opportunity to tap into these markets, providing etiquette courses for other Asian countries under the same brand and quality service.

 

Kimberly strongly believes that the Asian outbound tourism market will continue to grow over the next few years. A report issued by the UN World Tourism Organization in 2012 suggests that Singapore and Malaysia stand out as outbound markets: Singapore because of its wealth; Malaysia due to its trip volume. However Malaysia’s spending power is not as high as Singapore’s, and Malaysians tend to take short-haul trips. Thailand also shows promise as a strong outbound market. And while average incomes are relatively low in Vietnam, it appears to be the fastest growing market in Asia.  But how she can tap into these promising markets, she doesn’t know.

 

Establishing the Lee Institute for the China outbound tourism market was hard work, but it wasn’t entirely unfamiliar Kimberly knows Chinese culture: she was born in Shanghai.  She’s also lived abroad in Canada and France for nearly 15 years. Cross-cultural communications was her major focus in when studying her MBA, so she was very familiar with the possible intercultural issues that might arise for Chinese tourists when travelling in major Western countries.  As a result, developing a business model for the ‘new’ and ‘elite’ Chinese traveler visiting Western countries wasn’t too difficult.

 

However, apart from her annual ski trips to Korea and short holidays in other Asian countries, she knows that she’s perhaps not knowledgeable enough of other Asian cultures in that  she doesn’t know who and what to target outside of China.

 

The next morning Kimberly sent a memo to everyone in her company calling for new proposals to counteract her anticipation of market saturation. She wants to know the latest trends in outbound markets. Which Asian countries have the greatest potential to expand her etiquette coaching company? She also wants to know what their traveling behaviors are. What is the buying power from each country? What are their outbound tourists’ main interests? And, perhaps, more importantly, what do these outbound tourists already know of Western cultures, and do they need coaching?

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