[OPE-L] Karl Marx as a Tourist Destination

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Fri Jun 03 2005 - 10:20:34 EDT


Scotland on Sunday

Sun 29 May 2005

Small town capitalises on comrades' love of Marx


A SMALL town in Germany has become a magnet for
Chinese visitors, flocking to pay homage at the
birthplace of Karl Marx. So many Chinese now
travel to Trier for the pilgrimage that Chinese
has ousted English and French on local language
courses. Shop and restaurant staff are desperate
to learn the language of the new rich, who have
money to spend.

Squeezed between the Klaus Müller hairdressing
salon and Rachid doner kebab shop, the bourgeois
birthplace of Marx lies at No 10, Brückenstrasse.

On average the Chinese visitors spend two minutes
at the cathedral, three minutes at Porta Nigra -
a gate built by the Romans - and three minutes at
a local museum. Marx commands an average visit of
15 minutes - and often much longer.

Nearly 30,000 overnight stays were registered in
the town by Chinese visitors last year and tens
of thousands more came for the day on buses,
trains and in rented cars. Tourist information
chief Patricia Ellendt said: "They have been
wonderfully good for local capitalism with their
visits to the birthplace of communism's founder.
Most make a beeline for the place without looking
left or right."

Local language schools offer 10-hour crash
courses in Chinese, teaching basic phrases as
well as customs - the correct way to say hello,
goodbye and 'Do you want that gift-wrapped?'

"Ten hours is not going to make you fluent, but
hospitality plays a big part in Chinese life and
if people make an effort to speak the language,
Chinese people feel honoured," said Chang Tsun
Hwa, a local teacher.

Trier anticipates a growing influx, with tourism
analysts predicting 80 million Chinese will take
overseas holidays in the next decade.

Michael Möller, the head of Trier's largest men's
clothing store, said: "The Chinese are very
cautious with their money. They want a bargain,
but if they do want something they will have it.
They leave here with many things."

TUI China, a joint venture between Europe's
biggest travel company and a Chinese partner,
offers tailor-made holidays where visitors take a
course in German traffic signs and law before
they get behind the wheel of a powerful car to
take a high-speed holiday driving through Germany.

"The Chinese love to travel as fast as possible,"
said Guido Brettschneider of TUI China, adding
that autobahns with no speed limit were a special

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Jun 04 2005 - 00:00:01 EDT