China’s ultra rich want the chance to see the most elite athletes in the world, and as a result, luxury tourism to London for the Olympic Games is skyrocketing. This is thanks to the travel agency Caissa tying Olympic Games tickets into luxury packages.
“The closer to the Games we get, the more passionately people want to watch them. We have received hundreds of inquiries and our sales are growing every day,” said Zhang Rui, vice president of Caissa Touristic. Caisse is the only authorized reseller for Olympic Games tickets in China.
Zhang reports that sales have hit 100 million yuan ($15.87 million), and that luxury tour packages that include tickets to the opening ceremony on July 27 are almost sold out. That tour package cost 200,000 yuan ($31,436). Caissa has just rolled out its third batch of individual traveling packages to the UK.
Also hot in demand are tickets for those events featuring prominent Chinese athletes. Events featuring track-and-field star Liu Xiang sold out in one day. The Chinese travelers are also interested in table tennis and swimming events.
Chinese outbound travel has grown rapidly in recent years with 70.25 million “person times” in 2011 according to the National Tourism Administration. This compares to 57.39 million in 2010. Tourism packages that mix with major sports events with desirable destinations are proving to be popular with travelers.
To help matters along, the British Embassy in China has established a green channel for tourists headed to the games, reducing the wait time for visas to just 5 days.
The majority of those joining Olympic-related luxury tours are corporate clients. Caissa reports that the Chinese Olympic Committee organized a visiting team of about 1,000 people.