As China’s big cities return to a new-normal, bars and restaurants are open, friends can meet and everyone is back to work. So, what about those wishing to take a break from everyday life and get away for a well-earned weekend? Of course, international travel is not really an option right now, but how has China’s domestic tourism market faired in these uncertain times?

The year of course began with considerable disruption due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, during which all of China’s many and varied tourist destinations were closed. By May 1st, however, China had long since declared victory over the virus and most of its world-famous sites were up and running again. Combined with the weekend, Labour Day (1st May) was a three-day holiday in China, of which many people took advantage.  

In the first two days of the holiday more than 50 million trips were made, a respectable number by any calculation. In Beijing, the Forbidden City was partially open for the first time, albeit with limited ticket sales and social distancing measures maintained. In Shanghai, the city’s main tourist attractions welcomed more than 1 million visitors back, albeit initially operating at only 30% capacity and requiring visitors to wear masks. On the first day of the holiday, China’s railways carried 7.4 million passengers, the highest daily number recorded since the Lunar New Year holiday when the crisis began. Of course, one should bear in mind that these numbers were barely a quarter of the norm for this period, and there are many reasons for this. For starters, many people simply did not feel travel was yet worth the perceived risk. A nation that had been told to stay in their own homes for their own safety took a while longer to be lured back onto trains and planes.

Another reason may be linked to the path that China had taken out of lockdown, namely in its use of QR health codes. As mentioned in an earlier blog post “The Benefit of Experience in Tackling Covid-19”, most of China is now covered by a mandatory QR code system. To apply for the code, you register on an app such as Alipay, an e-wallet widely used in China, and enter information about your health, recent travel history, as well as ID information. This will give you a QR code: if green, you’re free to move around, but if your code changes to yellow, then restrictions including quarantine may follow. Each city generally has its own system and criteria, with differing consequences for varying colours. If a neighbouring city has confirmed covid-19 cases for example, travelers had reported that a visit may result in a yellow code and the need to self-isolate upon return. For a short trip from Shanghai to Hangzhou, just an hour away on the train, such potential uncertainty may have been off-putting even to locals. Accordingly, business travel reduced, with companies avoiding the risk of their employees getting stranded. However as things have moved on, it’s now possible to acquire multiple QR health codes, or codes which are compatible across cities. This has helped somewhat, allowing travelers to apply for clearance in advance, and has encouraged more people to get out and about.

Most hotels have now reopened, albeit not yet at full occupancy, but likely faring better than elsewhere. With temperature checks and facemasks having been commonplace for months, China’s travel industry is doing its best to help potential guests feel safe and secure away from home. Hand sanitiser is readily available everywhere.

For foreigners travelling within China, things have been a little more difficult. Until recently in fact, the Chinese Foreign Ministry had stopped issuing visas to China. These have since resumed, in a limited capacity and targeted to specific nationals only (mostly European). At present US passport holders are not granted visas for leisure travel. For those foreign nationals already in China – there can still be compatibility issues with QR codes, although the situation is improving as the system matures.

A month after the Labour Day holidays, a new outbreak did occur in Beijing. Then, over 1,200 flights were cancelled, train services greatly reduced and much of the city endured varying degrees of restrictions. However, roads remained open and people were allowed to leave once they had received a negative test result. Whereas this wave was quickly contained (as is to be expected by the swift action of local authorities now), mini-outbreaks have since occurred in Xinjiang Province and, even more recently, in Hong Kong which is currently at the tail end of its third wave. As a nation, the people are therefore much more alert – and uncertainties have affected mobility – but at the same time, most Chinese are confident that they’re currently in one of the safest places to be from the ongoing pandemic.

These days, China appears to be far ahead in getting life back to a new normal. Restaurants are buzzing and there is life on the streets. Air travel has recovered to pre-covid levels.  In many parts, you can see people’s faces again, though masks are still required on most forms of public transport. Whatever setbacks might come in the near future, I don’t doubt that China’s tourism industry, along with other sectors, will bounce back quicker than most.


– Kate is one of Imperial Tours’ China Hosts and a Shanghai resident.

During these times when our faith in the future is questioned, it’s uplifting to be sent glimpses of societies that are further ahead in confronting Covid-19. China and Hong Kong had the misfortune to face their first coronavirus in November 2002. That gave them a head start in meeting the challenge set by this new disease. Kate, Imperial Tours’ Shanghai-based China Host, provides a snap shot of life in Hong Kong and the main cities of China’s mainland. She explains the technology and history underpinning their relative success in confronting Covid-19 and provides peace of mind by showing how – even before there is a vaccine – we can establish a new normal.


The Situation In Hong Kong

When Covid-19 first attacked, it appeared that Hong Kong was at great risk and likely to become inundated with cases. It has many land borders with the mainland and a huge influx of visitors crossing its borders every day, not to mention it being a transit hub for international flights from all over the world. Yet a lockdown never became necessary in Hong Kong. Why? Because Hong Kongers have been here before. These are people that have come through SARS and swine flu and they know the drill. So without the need for laws and lockdowns and police, the Hong Kong people started distancing from each other. They wore masks when they went outside and chose to stay home more. A survey in March found that 85% of people said they were avoiding crowded places, and 99% said they wore a mask if they went outside.

The government supported this effort by acting quickly and following WHO guidelines to test, test, test. They allowed just three crossing points from the mainland to remain open and introduced strict checks and quarantine measures for those arriving in the city. They stopped flights transiting. They also limited gatherings to a maximum of four people and required restaurants to separate tables and limit capacity to 50%. Bars and nightclubs were closed for a time, generally just 14 days. So, restaurants didn’t close, nor did daily life shutdown, yet with the willingness and cooperation of a people quick to play their part, Hong Kong maintained one of the lowest case-counts of the virus in the region.

At the time of writing, Hong Kong’s borders with the outside world remain closed to outside visitors and some restrictions remain in place. For example, it’s common to have your temperature checked and to see plastic screens separating tables in restaurants. However, people are gradually feeling safe to meet, now in groups of eight, as per current guidelines. Bars, beauty parlours and other leisure facilities are reopening and life is getting back to normal, albeit with the continued use of masks


The Situation On The Mainland

At this point, bars and restaurants have reopened and patrons need not wear masks. In fact, only on public transport and in office buildings are masks widely worn indoors. Cinemas and other cultural events are operating at reduced capacity and if you fancy a swim you’ll need to book in advance. However, within those parameters, life is largely back to normal. Schools are slowly opening, people are travelling to work and socialising in the evenings. It appears China’s major cities have reached a new normal.


So how does life continue at this critical time of increased vigilance? The answer – Technology.


incense burning

All residents use a QR code within Alipay or Wechat (If you haven’t heard of these platforms, you will have within five mnutes of arrival in China, it’s pretty much impossible to function on the Mainland without them. Think WhatsApp or Facebook but so much more necessary.) The system is pretty straightforward, you sign up with information about your health and where you’ve recently travelled. Then everywhere you go you scan the QR code, for example on a metro carriage or in a mall, and as a result of this you get given a traffic-light-based colour-code. A green code is your passport to freedom! Bars, restaurants, malls, whatever, you just show your green code at the door and in you go.

Now, it is worth pointing out that each city operating these codes has a separate system so the criteria and consequences differ slightly, but broadly speaking, if for any reason someone you’ve been in contact with later tests positive for the virus, your code turns yellow, at which point you’re required to self-isolate at home. You won’t have much option because with a yellow code no-one will let you in anyway. If you yourself develop symptoms and test positive, your code becomes red at which point you need to be in a government operated isolation facility. This method seems to be hugely effective, probably because of it’s ease of use and the willingness of the public to subscribe. The local transmission of cases has fallen to basically zero in all of the major cities. A secondary reason this system may be so effective, is that it makes a green code so valuable, that no-one wants to risk losing it. Therefore, the incentive to take unnecessary risks is reduced significantly


The Benefit of Experience in Tackling Covid-19

China has weathered an array of health crises since it’s opening up in 1979. From the Hepatitis A outbreak in 1988, to the much publicised outbreaks of SARS in 2002/03 and H7N9 in 2013 and now, the worldwide pandemic we all face. Yet as the virus persists and spreads from one hotspot to the next around the globe, in China, where the eyes of the world were so focussed just four short months ago, life is pretty much back to normal. That’s not to say there isn’t the occasional small outbreak, quickly contained and dealt with, or that people don’t remain cautious, but on the whole, the economy is moving, people are working, leisure venues are open and China is back.

So how did a country faced with a virus unprecedented in its transmissibility regain control in such a relatively short space of time? In short, the preparedness of the authorities and the willingness of the people.

The virus was widely recognised mid-January, shortly before the Chinese New Year holiday. This may have been a blessing in disguise, as, although huge numbers of people travel for the week long holiday, it made it relatively easy to close workplaces. China’s first line of defence was to lockdown Wuhan city, where the virus originated, closely followed by suspending intercity travel and extending the new year holiday in order to stop people moving around, taking the virus with them.

Increasingly strict measures followed nationwide. Neighbourhood committees (local “police” in charge of each residential area) became extra assertive, especially in Shanghai, where the rules imposed by the neighbourhood committees frequently went further than the national government guidelines. In Beijing, residents were advised to tell their local authorities of their impending return whereupon they would be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. In Shanghai, people could only sleep at the address at which they were registered and could not enter other apartment complexes for any reason. Masks became compulsory when leaving home, something which was only permitted for the purposes of buying essential supplies. Once the borders closed, anyone arriving at Chinese airports were subject to a mandatory quarantine, often in a designated hotel at their own expense. Those that were allowed to quarantine at home were escorted. As they walked from the vehicle to their home, teams in hazmat suits followed, spraying the ground behind them with disinfectant. Temperature monitors were placed on the returnees’ beds to check for a fever while they slept and sensors were placed on the front door of the apartment. If the door was opened for any reason the returnee would receive a text message asking for an explanation.

Extreme measures? Definitely.
Draconian? Probably.
Successful? Undoubtedly.

Just four months later, with its borders closed and rigorous testing in place, China is back in business.


– Kate is one of Imperial Tours’ China Hosts and a Shanghai resident.


If you haven’t yet read Part 1, click here to read about Jaime’s earlier experiences living through the Coronavirus quarantine in Beijing


“Last week there were five straight days without any locally transmitted infections in the entirety of China. Although that trend was bucked this Monday, it has been the case again today that the only new cases in the country are from individuals (Chinese or foreign: it isn’t known) who recently returned from abroad. Hubei province, which was the epicenter of the virus in China, has today announced that it will be lifting the travel restrictions that had been in place for two months, except for its capital Wuhan.

Things are far from returning to normal: thousands remain in hospital in serious condition and millions under varying degrees of curfew or quarantine measures. However, the vast majority of people across China can now go to work at their offices, exercise outdoors, dine with friends at restaurants and return home to their families with the hope that the worst part of the crisis has passed.

As the virus ricochets around the world, there are still stringent regulations in place to dissuade large groups of people congregating in case there are undetected clusters. The main tool that has been deployed in Beijing and other cities is the use of entry/exit cards. These are small cards which each local neighborhood issues and which must be shown upon leaving and entering the community. They have the user’s name and address, as well as in some cases a copy of the identity card on the reverse side to discourage misuse.

Most residential compounds in Beijing are gated, and each entrance is dutifully patrolled by volunteers working in shifts of a few hours each who check to make sure everyone coming in or out has a card, as well as their body temperature with a laser thermometer. This system has ensured a constant vigilance for potential new cases, and it has helped to ensure that the volume of interactions in any given area is lower than it would be otherwise. Likewise, restaurants and bars have a strict limit on the number of patrons they’re allowed to have on premises at any given time (my estimate is that the limit is 30% of capacity), with a maximum of 3 people seated together and ample space between tables. In what was surely meant as a symbolic gesture of confidence, one section of the Great Wall has re-opened to visitors after being closed for two months, albeit with the mandatory donning of face masks, temperature checks at the entrance and reduced visitor capacity.

Life is not normal in Beijing yet, far from it, but we can see it on the horizon. Whispers of movie theaters and museums starting to re-open are gaining credence and the steadily increasing flow of people on the streets (including a few risk-takers without masks) are for me all but certain signs that this city is steadily returning to its old self.

I sadden when I talk to friends in Italy, and I would rather not ponder too much on what awaits less-prepared countries around the world in the coming weeks, but I am absolutely convinced that if the world follows the instructions of health experts we will be able to get through the worst of this crisis in a much shorter span of time than we can imagine.”


– Jaime is one of Imperial Tours’ Itinerary Designers and a Beijing resident.

“With just three days until Chinese New Year, faced with the gradually spreading coronavirus epidemic, my husband and I decided to refund our New Year’s Eve train tickets to his home and to cancel plans to reunite with my in-laws for the ‘Spring Festival’, China’s most important holiday. Our family of three would stay in Beijing instead. Except for a meal with parents and sisters who were in Beijing for the Spring Festival, we could not visit restaurants or shopping malls, and could not meet  with other relatives or friends. We wanted to relax, but our wandering minds couldn’t help but pay attention to news of the epidemic’s developments and to the extraordinary and heartbreaking efforts of medical staff in Wuhan – watching them was like wondering when a hanging heart would finally fall.

But life must go on. The Beijing city government encouraged employees to work from home and postpone visiting the office. My husband and I were uncertain when this 24/7 balancing act would end, so we set up a home office and with a baby to look after started the new Spring Festival holiday life.

Our five-year-old daughter doesn’t have a habit to sleep during the day, but hardly going out during the day, how could she consume all her energy at home and still fall asleep early in the evening? This was an issue that my husband and I discussed often. How long could the novelty of an indoor trampoline last? My husband and I took turns hopping with her before dinner to make it more fun. As children like to imitate adults, my husband and I followed an exercise app on our tablet for yoga and aerobics with our daughter. But in the end, my husband undusted the Xbox, having left it untouched for several years. Among the games, the dancing, skiing, and active themed ones became our family’s staple evening entertainment. Was this enough for our daughter to burn all her energy to be able to get to sleep early each evening? Not at all. Don’t even think about it! We relented and let her sleep later, so long as it didn’t affect daytime activities.

Family tensions did occasionally run high, but my daughter gradually submerged ever more deeply into her world of Lego and Peppa Pig dolls, curating themed and innovative scenes for them, arranging their respective characters for intense playtime. And when you grow tired of playing and start to get angry with your child, out come the fruit snacks to save the day. Free online children’s courses and newly acquired hobbies such as calligraphy and painting have become part of our lives. If your child is having a good time, then we adults can take advantage of the opportunity to do our own thing. After so many days of having “nowhere to escape”, I found the parent-child relationship remained mostly a mother-and-child bond. This cornerstone having been laid, it allowed my husband and I to run our household smoothly.

During the holiday, my frequent discussions of the virus and epidemic with my husband did not escape my daughter’s ears. We found a newly produced cartoon on viral sciences to watch and explain what was happening to our daughter. Gradually, she learned why our vacation had become so long without the resumption of her kindergarten; why her dad had to video conference from home; why she couldn’t play with her classmates; and why the courier couldn’t deliver direct to our home, but that an adult had to go downstairs to a special desk to collect deliveries. We had to explain why she couldn’t accompany her mother to the supermarket to choose her favourite snacks, not to mention hearing about the ‘uncle’ wearing protective clothing at the supermarket entrance taking everyone’s temperature before they can enter. My daughter would suddenly say: “Mom, I hope you can also be a doctor in the hospital.” Funnily enough, not long ago her kindergarten arranged a ‘virus prevention’ painting activity. My daughter’s piece was of ‘mother in the kitchen making tasty pies’, which she would eat to ‘strengthen her resistance’.

It is now the “Spring Equinox” season of the Chinese lunar calendar, where the weather outdoors begins to get warm and there is a feeling of summer approaching. As the fear of the virus recedes, the number of children playing downstairs in the community area is slowly increasing, and more and more restaurants around the city will gradually open for business. I believe our 24 hour ‘home life’ will soon be over.”


– Fiona is an accountant at Imperial Tours.  

Translated from Chinese by Terence Parker. You can read Fiona’s Chinese version here.



(You can read an English translation of this article here)











Updated: 25 March 2020

The Imperial Tours team would like to extend their heartfelt solidarity to everyone around the world who is being impacted by Covid-19. Now more than ever we are reminded of how fortunate we are to be in a business which brings people from opposite sides of the world together. To our amazing partners in the travel sector, we would like to remind that these difficult times will pass and that we will continue to arrange inspiring trips for our guests at the appropriate time. We put the health of our clients first and foremost and when travel to and within China resumes, we will proceed with our tours only if we are sure that there are absolutely no health risks to our guests.

While borders around the world keep closing and travel grinds to a halt, the Imperial Tours team is still very much at your disposal for any existing or future travel inquiries, as well as for on-the-ground updates on how the situation in China is evolving. As China was the first country hit by the pandemic, it is also now fortunate enough to be on the other side of the curve. If you would like to read some uplifting perspectives on the speed with which we can recover from the pandemic be sure to check our Blog in which our staff share their observations of positive developments in China.

If you or your client’s travel to China through Imperial Tours has been impacted by Covid-19, our updated policy is as follows:



In compliance with restrictions and advisories worldwide, Imperial Tours has temporarily suspended all tours departing until August 31st2020. If you have a tour scheduled for these dates, we offer the following options:





Please note these policies are not retroactive from the date published and do not apply for tours departing from September 1st 2020 onwards. The policy is subject to change at any time in accordance with global travel advisories.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact the Itinerary Designer you have been working with or send us an email to this address.



““One hundred and ten!” one of my neighbors yelled proudly from our shared common courtyard. He had been walking around the inside perimeter of our block of flats for the better part of an hour, phone in one hand and a leash connecting him to his sluggish corgi in the other. Face covered with the now obligatory mask, he walked over towards another dog-neighbor duo sitting on a bench enjoying the spring sun and in his booming voice announced he was increasing his loops by 10% each day. The neighbor didn’t bother to mutter a response, and the man’s corgi, unimpressed, quickly slumped alongside his fellow canine.

Beijing’s Second Ring Road at rush hour.

I am ignorant of what constituted my neighbor’s exercise routine before Covid-19, but Beijing has implemented such restrictive measures on movement that most people are weary to leave their homes except for pressing reasons. Having lived in the historic center of Beijing for almost ten years now, the changes have been unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. The maze-like hutongs (alleyways) used to have shoulder-to-shoulder crowds of people flocking to the restaurants, bars, shops and tourist attractions of the area. These are now all sealed off with a retractable fence at every possible entry point and manned day and night with at least two, typically middle-aged, volunteers. Working in shifts of two hours, they are armed with a walkie-talkie, a laser thermometer and, most importantly, a sense of duty for collective action against a common enemy, this new virus. A large percentage of restaurants and bars remain closed, and anywhere which may be a focal point for crowds has been shut. The main exception is public parks which, to the relief of many, have kept their doors open to visitors so long as they don a mask and agree to a temperature check. 

An eerily quiet Bell Tower

Although these measures were greeted by skepticism around the world when they were announced, the numbers should be enough to placate doubts of their effectiveness. The early days of February when thousands of new cases were being diagnosed on a daily basis are now unthinkable, and the trickle of cases that continue to emerge -outside the epicenter of Hubei- are mostly imported by travelers returning from one of the other large clusters around the world. As of this week they are being quarantined in specially designated hotels, so while they are mostly returning residents and not luxury travelers to China, measures like this will affect travelers for some time to come. Nonetheless, the drastic downward trend in cases is a welcome respite from the early days of the virus spread, and countries where the virus still looks to be gaining momentum should get some reassurance from it.”


You can now read Part 2 for a follow up of Jaime’s experiences living through the quarantine in Beijing.


– Jaime is one of Imperial Tours’ Itinerary Designers and a Beijing resident.

Since Confucian times, the Chinese have long been a male-centredsociety. In marriage, women typically wed into a husband’s household – more a contract between families than two individuals – and subservience was expected. In such a patriarchal society, by contrast sons were sole beneficiaries to a family’s fortune, and highly revered. Indeed Confucius himself was said to opine that “a good woman is an illiterate one” and, education for girls was thus limited to being a virtuous wife and a good mother; to obey the “Three Obedience’s and Four Virtues”. It wasn’t until the late Qing Dynasty, upon turn of the 19thcentury, that an effort to establish girl’s schools took place. After all, a stable home leads to a stable nation. Then, through China’s more recent history under the Communist Party, we saw further progress toward female empowerment and embracing the role of women. In fact Chairman Mao once declared that women “hold up half the sky”, and the years since have seen significant improvements to a woman’s legal and social status. Demographically, Chinese women have seen vastly raised levels of education, healthcare, employment, and most importantly independence. Since Deng Xiaoping’s program of ‘Reform and Opening Up’, some four decades ago, we’ve seen a sizeable emergence of “nv qiang ren (女強人)” – or “Alpha Females” – and according to the annual Hurun China Rich List in 2018, China now accounts for 63% of the world’s most successful female entrepreneurs.

Zhou Qunfei

Zhou Qunfei, founder of touch screen maker Lens Technology

Take for example Zhou Qunfei, founder of touch screen maker Lens Technology, and current holder of the title for world’s richest self-made woman with an estimated net worth of US $9.8 billion. Born into a poor family, Zhou was a success of Deng’s reform policies but most importantly her own dedication and perseverance, earning her the nickname ‘Brother Fei’, with suggestions she is ‘as tough as a man’. Having started with modest watch faces, Lens Technologies is now a major supplier for the likes of Samsung, Huawei, and Apple. Also on the list is Zhang Yin, founder and director of Nine Dragons Paper Holdings, and first woman to become richest person in China. Zhang was never afforded the opportunity of college, instead working from a young age to support her siblings. Her successes were similarly a product of hard work, having seized on opportunities presented by a paper-hungry domestic market in the 1990’s. Now a publicly listed company. Nine Dragons is one of the largest recycled paper manufacturers in the world.
Tao Huabi

Tao Huabi (or ‘Old Godmother’)

With a slightly smaller net-worth but arguably larger household name, the highly admired Tao Huabi (or ‘Old Godmother’, as she’s more commonly known) came from humble roots having accidentally discovered the popularity of her chili sauce – then only a side condiment in the simple noodle shop she was running. It didn’t take long to realise customers were not actually interested in her noodles, which sparked the beginning of a ‘sauce empire’ that has fought off imitations and lawsuits to become one of the best known in China today. In the arts, Chinese women have also seen their share of rise to prominence. Amongst the famous, Eileen Chang spent her early years in Shanghai and Tianjin, before moving to Hong Kong and eventually the United States. Despite this, her formative years in an all-girls school in Shanghai moulded her literary talent: she wrote her first novel at age 12, eventually releasing several big hits, many of which were translated to English, including the highly rated Lust, Cautionreleased as a major motion picture movie worldwide in 2007.
Lijia Zhang

Lijia Zhang ‘freedom fighter’

Top novelist Zhang Lijia, ‘freedom fighter’ and author of titles including Socialism is Great,regularly appears as guest on the likes of CNN and BBC. Having grown up in Nanjing and lived through the cultural revolution, her memoirs recall her own intellectual awakening and struggles growing up through the tumultuous decades that followed. In sports – 2014 tennis world no. 2 Li Na had become a household name, having won 28 singles tennis career titles including both Australian and French Open grand slams. Unlike most sports personalities, Li had famously succeeded by quitting the state run system but instead arranging coaching and training herself. As with much of the world, social perceptions in China have improved and women given more opportunities to reach their potential.  In the Middle Kingdom, this has meant high rates of women in employment (high in fact, even compared to global standards) and much more independence. Couples are marrying later, and many opting not to have children. International Women’s Day is well celebrated in China – with many businesses giving half a day off to female employees. In private however, this is still against a backdrop of prevalent traditional values and an underlying reluctance to challenge patriarchal ideals. China’s very own #MeToo movement was killed off almost as quickly as it began – and in politics the role of women in senior positions is noticeably absent. Despite intentof equal representation: the 25-member politburo only has one female delegate. No women have served the standing committee to date. It doesn’t help that the legal retirement age for women in China is lower than that of men: a logistical hindrance perhaps, but also indicative of an antiquated perception that women are physically limited. As we celebrate 40 years of China’s ‘reform and opening-up’, and yet another women’s month comes to close, we can celebrate the progress of women in Chinese society, but knowing that more needs to be done. After all, women shouldbe holding up half the sky.

Whilst travel companies typically extol monuments of the past, China’s attractiveness as a destination extends to its impact on our children’s future. For the past few months we have been looking into the folds and contours of China’s evolving landscape. Previously we looked at the revolution in smart phone apps and payment systems, at leapfrogging technologies in retail and at the development of Artificial Intelligence. Expanding upon the concepts of future, we sat down with Will Beloe, a Global Product Specialist at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, to discuss China’s approach to the environment. Will has been covering China for nearly two decades and for the last five years has been responsible for driving green investment in financial institutions in developing countries across Asia, including China.

Guy: Why do you think China is taking environmental issues so seriously? Is this a national or global concern?

Will: China is taking its environmental issues very seriously primarily because the country’s narrow focus on economic growth over the last 30 years has pushed its ecologic system to a breaking point. Anything between 3-9% of GDP is lost to pollution (air, water and soil) per annum. China’s government knows all too well that it has an obligation to protect its people from such harm. Climate change is a layer of costs and risks on top of that.

Guy: Are there any areas of green growth where China is leading the world?

Will: China makes 2/3rds of the world’s solar panels and nearly 1/2 of the world’s wind turbines. China had more battery-only electric car sales in 2016 than the rest of the world combined. 1 million Chinese are employed in its solar sector.

Guy: In what areas of climate change is China contributing to a global solution?

Will: China is driving green growth for two reasons – it has tot clean up its soil, water and air, particularly in its mega-cities; and because it is now a market leader in many of the areas. China is beginning to stand tall in areas including green finance. The work IFC has done with local financial institutions (FIS) has led to a reduction in emissions over 50 million tons of greenhouse gasses PA. This is more than our work with other FIS around the globe combined.

Guy: In your field of endeavour how well does China integrate its work with other countries?

Will: Under Xi Jingping, China is no longer 韬光养晦 (hiding one’s light under a bushel). China has bid its time beautifully on the emerging green economy and is now leading the world in many areas, such as those already listed above. It is likely to do the same in the carbon markets (this will take a few more years), in clean green cities, in water management etc.

Guy: In what areas is China a threat to the rest of the world environmentally and in what areas is it a force for the good?

Will: Depends on whether your glass is half-full or half-empty. China is facing some of the world’s biggest problems when it comes to pollution (second only to India). Given its recognition of these threats and the position the government is in, it has the potential to solve these problems in a way that most other countries could not. The solution it implements will do more than most to help put us on track to avoid the worst climate change scenarios, and it will provide a hugely valuable template for others to follow. There are complaints of China dumping solar panels/wind turbines and in the future probably electric cars in other countries. In the end, how bad is that for the world?

Guy: How do you think China could improve in its interaction with multilateral organizations in the area of environmental research, policy formulation?

Will: It has been stymied in its attempts to grow its engagement with already established multilateral organizations. As a result, it ahs ended up establishing a number of its own. Net net, this is likely to be a positive for all but the incumbents.

Guy: How do you view the future of China’s environment and the impact China will have on the earth’s resources and environment?

Will: I am optimistic that China will manage to deal with its population and climate problems faster than almost all other countries will and could. By doing so, it will provide leadership and a roadmap to others. It is an excellent ‘soft power’/economic opportunity that is not lost on its leadership.

Guy: Thank you for your honest opinion and perspective Will, we are looking forward to what the future of China holds.

China is heavily investing in technologies for the future across all spectrums of industry – from renewable energy, medical advancements to transportation. Imperial Tours has collected a roster of experts to showcase the dynamic transitions China is making as a global player. We can arrange for you to meet these experts to discuss and learn about China’s political and economic strategies and investments in technology.


Contact:   Jacqueline Soto, 480-430-7511, Jacqueline@slentertainment.com

Guy Rubin, +86 10 8440 7162 guy@imperialtours.net





Scottsdale, AZ – An experience offered by Imperial Tours was recognized as one of the top experiential travel offerings at the inaugural CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25, a first-of-its-kind travel initiative that annually lists the top 25 travel experiences or products throughout the world. The winners were announced in a special interactive event at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on August 13 in front of leading travel professionals.

Chad Clark, principal and owner of Chad Clark Travel Ventures, is a travel industry expert and self-described, “experience junkie,” who has spent years seeking out top-of-the-line travel experiences and services. Now, he is providing a platform for the best in travel to share theirs.

Clark aims to set the industry standard for luxury travel with the inauguration of the CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25, an elite list of the world’s most prestigious, authentic and unique travel experiences or products. Great Wall Private Banquet was among the first recipients of this prestigious honor.

“We are humbled and overwhelmed by the immense number of submissions we received from travel providers across the globe,” said Clark. “It is an honor and a thrill to unveil the very best in luxury travel through the CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25. This initiative provides travel suppliers with an opportunity to have their premium experiences recognized and promoted in an innovative way, while simultaneously connecting travel advisors, and ultimately travelers themselves, with exclusive, thoroughly vetted travel experiences that have an industry seal of approval.”


About the Great Wall Banquet

When we hear these days of the daunting logistical and financial challenges of building a wall across the southern border of the US, it brings home the magnificent achievement of the Chinese in resolving exactly these issues many centuries before as they built successive fortifications across their northern frontier to protect their agricultural heartlands from aggressive nomadic invaders from the north. These fortifications are known to us today as the Great Wall of China. The incredible experience we are presenting is the opportunity to walk the Great Wall with the British conservationist who was instrumental in developing the law to protect it, and then to enjoy a white linen banquet in a guard tower.

What astounds visitors about the Ming dynasty Great Wall (1368-1644) is its surprising beauty. Whereas the sections closest to Beijing are the largest with the most tourists, more remote sections benefit from fewer visitors and less renovation. The centuries-old 5 meter high “wild wall” – as conservationist William Lindesay calls it – these days does not dominate its surrounding landscape so much as delineate, define and embellish it. William will introduce his thirty year association with the Great Wall, starting with being the first foreigner ever to walk its entire length, to now when he is known through China as the Guardian of the Wall. After a thorough introduction to his efforts to improve its conservation, you will be taken to a remote spot to enjoy a remarkable banquet on the Great Wall of China.


About Chad Clark Travel Ventures

A self-proclaimed “experience junkie,” Clark gave up corporate life to follow his love for food, wine, culture, destinations, a.k.a. extraordinary travel experiences, and turn it into a business that helps people make the absolute most of their most precious commodity – their time.

Whether traveling with friends, family or alone on a research trip, Clark is all about the experience – and when he finds one he is passionate about, he just has to share it with his clients and friends. He and his company have the contacts, relationships and dedication necessary to ensure his clients have the best possible experiences. Clark has dedicated his life to travel and is amassing an ever-growing “Experience Journal” that he shares online through social media. Viewers can follow Clark through Rome, Sydney, Paris and even in his own backyard golfing in Scottsdale, Arizona. Clark and his team are committed to sampling, connecting, building relationships and, in essence, helping his clients live their next big adventure.

Chad Clark Travel Ventures works with people who recognize that the types of trips they want require more than time and planning – they require knowledge, experience and connections, all of which Clark and his team can provide.

Chad Clark Travel Ventures, an independent affiliate of Camelback Odyssey Travel – a Virtuoso® Member.

For more information on CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25, please visit www.chadclarkcertified.com.