The news business can be a strange one. A few weeks ago, there was a flurry of articles about Beijing's new airport. "Beijing plans to spend around USD 14 billion to build a new airport in the outskirts of the city to relieve congestion at its air travel gateway, already the world's second-busiest," The Wall Street Journal reported.

That's just swell, except it isn't news. The airport, being built in Beijing's southern Daxing District, began construction at least a year ago, and we wrote about it here and here. Same airport, no new information, still opening in 2018. I don't know either.

Then there was the story about China building a railroad to the United States, including 200 kilometers underneath the Bering Strait. After you watch this video, the idea will seem even more ridiculous and impossible. And that's just talking about the engineering part of it, not to mention the political side.

Although the China outbound travel business is clearly a bandwagon worth getting on, it's also emerging as one heavily subject to political winds. Travel to Malaysia declined significantly after the disappearance of flight MH370, so much so that Malaysia Airlines reduced its service from two flights per day to one. In 2012, when China and the Philippines weren't getting along so well, China cancelled all tour groups headed to the archipelago nation. Now, travel to Vietnam, a destination popular with Chinese visitors for its proximity, similar culture, and low cost, is taking a hit. Handling China's travelers can be a good business, it just depends where and on what day.

Still, the numbers are huge. One recent report states that 200 million PRC citizens will travel abroad annually by 2020, and that more and more are doing so independently. The think-tank known as the Mall of America has called visitors from China "the world's most lucrative tourist." If you're an entrepreneur in this country with some language skills, you have to consider travel as one possible avenue.

Thanks to everyone who read Tuesday's edition, Adventures on Air China. I'm not sure if I can deliver the excitement and tension of a mid-air near-miss each time, but I'll see what I can do.

Until next Tuesday, one road flat safe.

Photo: Travel Hoi An


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