Where will the Chinese tourists go?

Read in ‘Aerotropolis’ (2011) of John Kasarda and Greg Lindsay:

Last Thursday I met Wade Shepard, author of ‘Ghost Cities of China’ (2015) in Amsterdam. It was his first time in the Low Countries. Wade, who is from Buffalo USA, is living in China for a long time now. I showed him around in Volksvlijt, the exhibition on the future of the Amsterdam region in the Public Libraby. We talked about China and the future. He told me he is writing a new book on Chinese investments in infrastructure and business abroad, based on the new imperial policy of the Chinese government: buying land, building infrastructure, moving people around in Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Investigating the new Silk Road from the heartland of China to Europe the Chinese are planning, made him think he should visit Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Are the two Dutch cities preparing themselves for Chinese capital? Amsterdam airport always was innovative in developing concepts; its Airport City the Chinese are copying now on a grand scale. What next? And what is Amsterdam’s latest response? And will Rotterdam attract Chinese railcargo via the new Betuwe railtracks? And where will all the Chinese tourists go?

His talk reminded me of the book Greg Lindsay wrote on John Kasarda’s ‘Aerotropolis’ concept. The last chapter of the book is on China. Lindsay focuses on the instant megacities on the Chinese coast, that are based on industrial clusters and air cargo, capable of supplying the entire world with goods. “China is taking Kasarda’s logic of the Aerotropolis – an urban machine not for living but for competition – to global scale.” The story of modern China, he stresses, is the story of second-day air. “Research by the World Bank suggests the reason China’s megacities have grown so big, so fast is that the returns to scale have grown so massive.” In its Eleventh Five-Year Plan, the Chinese government ammounced that it would build a hundred new airports by 2020. Besides airports, China laid many miles of high-speed railroad track, thus developing “a world-class system for moving people and goods quickly, cheaply, and reliably across any distance…. There is nothing to stop them.” By the time they’re finished in 2020, 82 percent of the population – 1.5 billion Chinese – will live within a ninety-minute drive of an airport, nearly twice the number today. Before long, China’s tourists will outnumber their goods. Fascinating, isn’t it?  So is Amsterdam ready? I told Wade about the new Chinese six-star hotel coming to Amsterdam. Wade and I started smiling.






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