French hotelier Accor is leveraging the fame of a Chinese lake best known for its mitten crabs to sell a “five-star” resort experience to wealthy Chinese.
Seafood consumption in China is increasingly linked to tourism as Chinese consumers seek to spend their money on experiences. Hotel chains, including brands operated by Accor, have sought to cater to Chinese tourists through openings of new properties in China and regionally.
Every autumn in the crab season, droves of tourists visit Yangcheng Lake, which is located just outside the city of Suzhou, a one-hour train ride from Shanghai on the high-speed train network. Restaurants at the Fairmont Hotel and resort at Yangcheng Lake will now offer the famed Yangcheng mitten crabs, which have become a premium product in China.
The Yangcheng crab industry association has sought to differentiate itself in the market, through tourism and other routes. Recently, it sued Chinese mitten crab farmers for illegal use of the “Yangcheng” name. The suit alleges mitten crab producers all over China are using the “Yangcheng” name to command higher prices for their products.