Businesses in Banff are busy preparing for a new generation of tourists from China.
More Chinese millennials than ever are travelling — and Travel Alberta is organizing workshops for hundreds of hotel and restaurant staff across the province to be ready for them.
"We know millennials will outpace any other group," said an American hospitality trainer Daniel Crain, speaking ahead of a workshop in Banff on Thursday, following sessions in Edmonton and Calgary.
"The group travel will never go away, but the millennials are really taking over," Crain said.
Travel Alberta says the province can expect around 90,000 visitors from China this year. That's about 50 per cent more than a few years ago.
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Unlike their parents, Crain says the millennials want rental cars rather than tour buses, and constant Wi-Fi access with clear instructions.
And social media is how to connect with Chinese tourists these days, he added.
"That is how everything is happening, and that is the way that this group is definitely going to travel. It's usually couples — more married than not married. These are not the party people that are coming for a good time. They're coming here to have an experience."
They're also more likely to want to do outdoor sports and share their experiences with friends back home through social media.
"We're seeing skiing — a lot of skiing — because of the 2022 Olympics. Canada has a great opportunity because lots of Chinese students are coming here to learn how to be ski instructors and going back to China," said Crain.
The average stay is six to nine nights.