In pursuit of the world’s finest and most luxurious goods, deep-pocketed Chinese tourists are flocking to European capitals and industrious airlines are creating new lines to accommodate the affluent consumers from the east.
Notably, Chinese tourists have been frequenting Geneva, the city home to the world-famous Rolex watches, in order to purchase the latest couture and lavish goods with the illustrious Alps as a backdrop.
Aware of the travelling demand to the Rolex capital, Swiss International Air Lines Ltd. is looking to partner with Air China to create a Beijing-Geneva line via a code-sharing partnership.
Chinese have become the world’s largest luxury spenders and in recent times have decided to spend more and more of their Renminbi abroad. Compared to the $830 million spent on luxury goods in China during the last year, Chinese spent $8.5 billion on luxury goods abroad, reported Beijing-based World Luxury Association, making the Chinese the world’s largest luxury consumers.
The Chinese maintain the belief that luxury is of the utmost importance, despite the economic climate, and do not indicate any change in their thinking will occur soon, unlike their European and American counterparts.
Part of the reason so many Chinese are opting to shop on the Champs Elysee in Paris or Rues Basses in Geneva is that the products are cheaper in the countries where they are produced.
In China, the government has imposed high taxes on luxury goods ranging from 20 percent and as high as 70 percent, meaning a Rolex watch in Geneva which costs a minimum of $10,000 could end up costing at very least $17,000 for the same product.
Not to mention, Chinese consumers can trust the products they buy abroad directly from the manufacturers to be authentic unlike the rampant knock-offs which are sold in the Macau, Beijing and Shanghai markets.
For the year 2015, Europe is expected to be one of the top destinations for the 94 million people expected to travel from mainland China, a McKinsey & Co. report predicts.
Swiss Air CEO Harry Hohmeister told Bloomberg that the Chinese market is the fastest growing, hence why he wants his airline onboard for what for the future holds in luxury travel.