Simple steps could make a world of difference when it comes to attracting Chinese tourists to the Santa Maria Valley.

The Central Coast has the landmarks, the restaurants, and the classic California experience Chinese travelers are looking for, Liane Aanderaa told a group of hospitality and business people Tuesday.

Aanderaa’s presentation ‘China Ready’ is part of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor and Convention Bureau’s Tourism Marketing Series. The tourism series is held the first Tuesday each month.

liane aanderaa
Liane Aandera

Aanderaa is a Chinese culture instructor and teaches Chinese at Orcutt Academy High School.

Aanderaa said Chinese travelers tend to choose hotels based on location, cleanliness, safety and value for the money. Among some of the amenities hotels should have on hand include:

  • – hot pot for boiling water
  • – Chinese tea bags
  • – toothbrush/toothpaste
  • – disposable slippers
  • – disposable razor and shaving cream
  • – minibar cup of noodles and disposable chopsticks
  • – cable TV with Chinese channels

Tourists often travel as part of a tour group because of cultural and language barriers. They rely heavily on Mandarin-speaking guides, so employing staff who speak Mandarin is helpful.

Aanderaa suggested businesses consider translating brochures and menus into Mandarin, and accept UnionPay credit cards, which are widely used in China.

Aanderaa detailed the expectations of Chinese travelers on topics such as food, itineraries, entertainment, shopping, transportation, communications and services. She urged the group to research Chinese market opportunities and become familiar with inbound tour operators.

Chinese tourists to the United States far outspend visitors from other countries, spending an average of $6,000 per person. As the US has eased visa regulations with China, more Chinese tourists than ever are vacationing in America and looking for experiences off the beaten path.

Aanderaa offers a four-week introduction to Chinese language and culture class at the OASIS Senior Center, 420 Soares Ave., Old Town Orcutt. The class is 6-7:30 p.m. starting Sept. 3. The cost is $60, which includes the price of materials. To register before Sept. 1, email her at or call (805) 266-3036.