Sunday, February 10, 2008

Chinese likes to travel, especially to Spain

From ages ago, Chinese have been traveling. Admiral Zheng (Cheng Ho) explored the world with his mighty fleet and now some even claimed he was in the American continent before Columbus. Other Chinese traveled for different reasons. At one time in the past, Chinese in China faced great hardship, and many migrated hoping to find greener pastures and you now can find Chinese in many countries of the world. Just as you have the Jew Diaspora, you also have the Chinese Diaspora, except in my opinion, the Chinese Diaspora is more widespread.

Now modern Chinese travel for different reasons. Many travel because they have found their pot of gold and travel for vacations. Others are Chinese businessmen who travel for business. And they travel not only from China, but from all over the world because of the Chinese Diaspora.

Spain as a tourist and business destination

There are many things in Spain to attract the Chinese there. There is of course the pleasant sunny, warm Mediterranean weather plus the beautiful beaches. Then there are fellow resident Chinese in Spain itself plus their Chinese restaurants and the Chinese textiles and trade industries for Chinese businessmen. Some may want to catch a glimpse of He Zhi Wen, a world-ranked table tennis player.

Costa Brava, Spain

Costa Brava, Spain
Photo of a Costa Brava beach is property of S Khan
Costa Brava is a coastal region located at the northeastern part of Catalonia, Spain. The name itself conveys an impression of a rugged or wild coast for "Costa" is the Spanish word for "coast" and Brava implies "rugged" or "wild". You can find many rocky cliffs in Costa Brava, which is a long 60 kilometer coastal stretch from Blanes to the French border. It is now not so "wild" for in the Spanish Franco government in the 1950s identified Costa Brava as a region to be developed as a holiday destination, especially for package holiday tourists from Northern Europe and particularly the United Kingdom with it gloomy and frequently rainy climate. There are now large numbers of hotels and apartments in various seaside resorts like Lloret de Mar, Tossa de Mar, Blanes, and l'Estartit and the tourism industry is rapidly taking over from fishing as the major economic activity of the Costa Brava.

Online accommodation booking available at Costa Brava Hotels.

Costa Del Sol, Spain

Costa del Sol, Spain
Photo of Costa del Sol is property of Yareeh

Costa del Sol which is Spanish for "Sun Coast" or "Sunshine Coast", is the southern region of Spain as part of the autonomous region of Andalusia. This 150 kilometer stretch of coastal region had been transformed from a series of small, peaceful fishing settlements to a modern world tourist destination with a mixture of modern high-rise buildings and resorts and old styled low-rise local Andalusian architectural multi-dwelling blocks. You can still find those narrow streets that you see in the photo above which not be able to take the modern cars but which are tourist attractions in pockets of Costa del Sol.

Some towns, particularly Marbella, have become playgrounds for the super-rich and famous visitors. Recently, many high quality golf courses, mostly centered around Marbella, have been developed and now Costa Del Sol is attracting golfers from Europe as well as the rest of the world.

Online accommodation booking is available at Costa Del Sol Hotels.

Alicante, the Spanish province

Alicante is a Spanish province in which there is also an Alicante city and also the costal Valencian coastal municipality, Benidorm, both of which will be described in more details below. Alicante, the province, is located in the southern part of the Valencian Community.

Alicante, the city

Alicante city, Spain
Photo of a street in Alicante city is property of The Joneses

Alicante, the city, is the capital of the Alicante province and also one of the fastest-growing cities in Spain. It is also a historic and still active Mediterranean port with regular ferry services to Algeria and the Balearic Islands. So Alicante can be your launching pad for visits to Africa.

Like the other places, Alicante economy is largely based on the tourism industry with its popular beaches. The influx of tourists has stimulated a construction boom which has transformed a formerly rundown port into a sophisticated city with clean beaches, world-class museums, wide attractive boulevards plus a new harbor complex. This also means you will be seeing the stuff that comes with a construction boom - tall cranes, half completed buildings, cement mixers, etc. But the old part of the city is largely preserved and active with bars, restaurants and shops.

Online accommodation booking is available from Alicante Hotels.

Benidorm, Spain

Benidorm, Spain
Photo of Benidorm, Spain, belong to Juan Carlos

Benidorm is a costal Valencian coastal municipality located in the province of Alicante beside the Mediterranean Sea. Benidorm can boast of having many tall buildings and is sometimes referred to as the "Manhattan of Spain" because of a similar skyline featuring many tall hotels and apartment buildings you don't find in other parts of Costa Blanca. The photo at the top shows the degree to which Benidorm skyline resembles that of Manhattan of the United States of America.

Benidorm is much frequently by British and Dutch tourists, particularly the British. It is possible that in the more touristy part of Benidorm, you may hear more people speaking in English or Dutch than Spanish. The extent of the overwhelming presence of British tourist can be seen in many Benidorm pubs touting the fact that they have "authentic British menu". Looks like what many people consider British cuisine as rather bland, British still prefer their own "bland" English food. Pretty much like many Chinese who when touring a foreign country, will head for a Chinese restaurant rather than sampling the local cuisine, something I, a Chinese, find strange. If I am in a foreign country, I would rather try out what the local cuisine taste like rather than sticking to the same old familiar food. Benidorm is also a popular tourist draw because starting from around 9pm and continuing into the early hours of the morning, there are free cabaret acts.

For online accommodation booking, try Benidorm Hotels.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is the capital city of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid, the capital of Spain. Barcelona lies on the Mediterranean coast and is both a major economic center as well as one of Europe's principal Mediterranean ports. Chinese businessmen should be attracted to Barcelona like bees to honey. For Chinese tourists, there is Barcelona's rich cultural heritage and architectural buildings designed by world renown architects of old, like Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Antoni Gaudí. Their creations have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain
Photo of La Rambla is property of Andy Wright

The center of attraction of Barcelona is probably La Rambla or Las Ramblas, a very busy 1 over kilometer pedestrian mall lined on both sides by trees as you can see in the photo above. La Rambla is much visited by tourists as well as locals, although the tourists will likely be the majority here. La Rambla can be very crowded during the major tourist season, and the photo above is very likely taken during the off-season. You can find many cafés, theaters, small shops and market stalls there, as you can see from the photo above. You may also see various street performances by actors, mimes, etc. The thrifty Chinese tourists are not likely to patronize the cafes and restaurants here as prices can be pretty high.

Online accommodation booking is available from Barcelona Las Ramblas Hotels.


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