The Chinese are now the world’s most prolific travelers.

The Chinese are now the world’s most prolific travelers: According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, 83 million Chinese citizens traveled abroad in 2012, a huge rise from 10 million in 2000, and collectively spent $102 billion. That’s plenty of incentive for the hospitality and tourism industry to spring into action. Marriott teaches its staff basic Chinese phrases; the Marriott Marquis in New York City has replaced room numbers on the 44th floor with names (the number 4 and the word “death” sound similar in Chinese); and many of the Starwood hotels feature Chinese comfort food like congee, as well as menus and brochures in Chinese.

Tourism boards are rapidly churning out efforts aimed at Chinese consumers. Last month the state of California launched a $1.6 million campaign, and Massachusetts’ Office of Travel and Tourism holds a workshop advising businesses on how to cater to Chinese tourists. Australia’s “G’Day China” campaign will include promotions featuring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, among others, as well as a currency agreement in which the Aussie dollar will be traded directly with the Chinese yuan.

Social media is a key channel. The Singapore Tourism Board has launched a “micro-movie” on the popular Youku.com and Sina.com in which the protagonist of a popular Taiwanese romantic movie rekindles her romance as she explores tourist sights around the island nation. In New Zealand, even the Hobbits are doing their part. An interactive online campaign invites users to draw cartoon images of Middle Earth scenes and landscapes onto a postcard. The cartoons then transform into real-life images of New Zealand landscapes. Users can then share their postcard online.

For other recent travel trends, see our latest travel report here.

Image credit: fantasy.NewZealand.com