Entrepreneur Asia: Power Players

Chinese tycoon bets tourists will venture here

Reporting by Susan Li | Writing by Leslie Shaffer
Chinese property tycoon: Why I like Scandinavia
Chinese property tycoon: Why I like Scandinavia

Chinese tourists are venturing ever further afield, and Chinese tycoon Huang Nubo is betting they'll start adding Scandinavia and the Baltics to their bucket lists.

"China is becoming the number one global tourism source market in the world," Huang, chairman of one of China's leading real estate investment groups, Beijing Zhongkun, told CNBC.

"This is an opportunity. They might go to Bali, Germany, but also Scandinavia," he said.

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"My dream is that in the next 10 years, I can build a resort brand that is respected around the world," Huang added.

The Chinese are certainly developing itchy feet. The number of Chinese tourists travelling abroad doubled from 2005 to 2012 to a whopping 83 million, the United Nations World Tourism Organization reported. In 2013, it said China had rocketed to the top spot in terms of global tourism demand, overtaking both the U.S. and Germany.

Nidelva river and Solsiden area in Trondheim, Norway
Visions of Our Land | Getty Images

But none of the Scandinavian countries make the top-10 on either the "wish list" or "the reality" list for Chinese travelers' destinations, according to Hotels.com's Chinese International Travel Monitor for 2013. Both lists are dominated by Asia-Pacific and North American destinations as well as select European locations, such as the U.K., France and Italy.

Read MoreChinese tourists to double by 2020: CLSA

Huang appears unperturbed by the current lack of interest.

"Now Scandinavia is not equipped and does not have favorable conditions for tourism," he said. "When I go to Iceland and Scandinavia to make purchases of resorts, I am really preparing for a large-scale arrival of Chinese tourists," Huang said.

While Iceland may seem remote, Huang expects that melting polar ice caps over the next 10 years will make the country a more attractive destination -- especially as many ships must pass by the country on their way to Europe.

To be sure, Huang's efforts to enter Iceland have been less than successful thus far. In 2012, his $8.8 million bid to buy a 115 square mile farm in Iceland was stymied by the country's inability to make a final decision on his application. That followed a rejection over his land bid a year earlier, with the government citing opposition to foreign ownership of property.

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Huang's company, Beijing Zhongkun, which owns property and resorts in China and several countries, including properties in U.S. cities Nashville and Los Angeles, had plans to use Iceland as a base for a tourism chain in Scandinavia.

"We did not stop because of Iceland," he said. "Within the next three years, we aim to enter into Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden."

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Huang still has hopes for Iceland. "The new Icelandic government is very excited," he said. "Maybe they've thought this through. They want tourism investment," he said. But he isn't certain how well negotiations with Icelandic officials will proceed.

"I think that they do not have a lot of experience, unlike Chinese officials, who have management experience," Huang said. "They are more like actors being elected."

—By CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1