02 January 2016

Tea tops Laowai's shopping list

Chinese tea was the most purchased commodity among foreign visitors to Beijing in 2012, according to the 2013 Beijing Tourism Green Paper published July 9 by the Social Sciences Academic Press of China.

A survey of 4,800 foreign tourists' purchases found that nearly 40 percent of respondents bought Chinese tea while visiting Beijing. The next most popular items were silk products (25.8 percent), handicrafts (22.6 percent), cigarettes (21.8 percent), Chinese herbal healthcare products (20.2 percent) and pottery and porcelain wares (13 percent). The survey, conducted by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development between April and June 2012, was developed to shed light on foreign consumption habits in Beijing.

European and American respondents said they were most interested in products like Chinese tea, silk, painting and calligraphy works , while Asian respondents were more likely to have purchased Chinese herbal healthcare products.

The survey also found that the average per-capita expenditure among respondents was US$1,047, with an average length of stay of 4.23 days. Shopping accounted for one-fourth of respondents' total expenditures and was ranked as the second-most costly expense of respondents' trips, after long distance travel.

The green paper also found that 47 percent of respondents were young people between the ages of 25 and 44, an indication that travelers to Beijing may be skewing younger.