2020: Brunei-China Joint Tourism Partnership, don’t miss the boat

brunei attract chinese tourist

The Media often introduce China as a confrontational power but often forget to mention the many partnerships it has with other nations around the world. For instance, China and Brunei have decided to join forces to achieve a common goal:  Develop Tourism

China Inbound Tourism Landscape

China is a country in constant expansion. Its economy is growing so does its “Soft power”. This term refers to the cultural dimension of a country’s power. Thanks to it, China is increasingly arousing curiosity. This is why tourism is likely to become a key sector in its economy.

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Despite the visa restrictions for most nationalities, China is in the top 5 of the most visited countries. In order to increase the number of tourists visiting China each year, the government is “relaxing” its visa policy. For instance, you can now transit up to 5 days with no visas in some Chinese cities.

Here are some data about tourism in China in 2019 :

Tourism in China is therefore booming. In its quest for notoriety, the country has established an alliance with a smaller neighboring country, Brunei (among others). Brunei is a wonderful country with beautiful beaches but suffers from a lack of interest. One of the reasons is that Brunei has not spent so much on promoting tourism and what it has to offer to tourists. But hopefully, it is about to change. This partnership with China is a wonderful opportunity. Why?

Because This partnership will bring more visibility to Brunei. This would have consequences to instigate the Interest of the more and more numerous Chinese independent travelers looking for adventure and unknown. 

The partnership will also ease the visa process for Chinese travelers.

South-east Asia is a popular destination among Chinese younger generations, and there is no doubt that the promotion of Brunei by the Chinese government will lead many to choose this destination for vacations.

Professionals of tourism better are ready to receive this tourism (we will see how a bit later, do not leave us yet 😉 ).

Tourism in Brunei: A market to develop

Do you know this beautiful country?

Brunei is a small country in East Asia. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is at the head of the country. It has so many majestic monuments, here you can find: Guides & Tips 11 Fantastic Reasons to Visit Brunei.

Brunei has some great advantages for an Asian country : 

  • Cleanliness of the street
  • Welcomeness of the inhabitants
  • Safety 
  • Great cultural background
  • Beautiful and various landscape
  • Cheap life

So why does Brunei suffer from such a lack of tourists?

The country wins by being known but is not known enough. It is sorely lacking in notoriety.

China could then give it a place on the international stage.

Brunei – China partnership

The number of Chinese tourists traveling to Brunei increased by 21.1% last year and it is not expected to stop there.

January 17, 2020, is the launch date of the project.

In order to achieve the objective, a new airline will be created.

Royal Brunei Airlines will be the major link between both countries. A direct line will connect the countries, and then, allowing easy access. 

The airline company will open the country for Chinese tourists. But that’s not all, it will give it a great opportunity to open up to the world and thus make itself known.

A golden opportunity is at your fingertips!

How to seize this opportunity?

Whether you are a tour operator or a hotel, If you want to conquer the Chinese market you have to Think digital. Several techniques are to be implemented to your digital strategy in order to increase your visibility, and thus to impose yourself on the Chinese market. 

A new digital marketing strategy

In order to assert yourself in the Chinese market, a brand new digital strategy is to be considered.

Several factors have to be taken into account:

  • Your visibility 
  • Your E-reputation

I- Your visibility

If the Chinese market is the ideal terrain for a tourism agency, a keen knowledge of how it works is required. Visibility is the first thing to review. 

You may have the best trips to offer, at the best price, if no one knows about it, you will have very few customers.

There are several you can use in order to be seen by your potential customers.


wechat brochure for china tourism
Example of what a Wechat brochure looks like. This brochure was designed by Ctrip, the biggest OTA in China.

WeChat is the first application to master. With its billion users and its multiple functionalities, the application will make your agency visible. That is to say, WeChat allows you to deliver a message to a targeted and large audience. 

What are Incredibly cost-efficient Wechat solutions for tourism?

  • Wechat groups: create Wechat group to share interesting and useful information about Brunei and your services. Spark interest for Brunei attraction, food, specialties etc. Invite travel bloggers and professional of tourism in those groups. They will create interaction and engagement.
  • Wechat H5 brochure: A brochure with all the information about your tour, hotel, services in Brunei that you can easily share of Wechat. It is convenient and Chinese consumers love convenience. 

If you have more budget go for Wechat’s official account as well. Create an official account where you promote your services and the country. Establish a CRM to communicate with your followers and make it easy to book your services, ask questions, etc…

Collaborate with Chinese KOL

If one were to define what KOL (Key Opinion Leader) is, it would seem that they are followed by a very large number of people, constituting their “community”. The KOL thus has a consequent power of influence over all these people. (Aka Influencers)

This is where you come in, these influencers can give you the benefit of their influence:

  • By using your services
  • Speaking of your services
  • By appearing on one of your sites, advertising, etc…

There are different types of influencers, from megastars to micro-influencers. You do not need to go for superstars. They are usually very expensive and lazier than more modest Kols that are working really hard to get famous.

Don’t underestimate them, especially in China, where clients are risk-averse, they need to have confidence.

Chinese Travel Forums

There are many forums concerning tourism. This allows users to exchange their past experiences and others to have information from the customer’s point of view.

I assume you know TripAdvisor?

This is precisely the forum that Chinese customers do not use. 

TripAdvisor’s Chinese twins are Manfengwo and Qyer. Didn’t you know them? You should!

Manfengwo and Qyer

The Chinese population is getting richer and thus, traveling more and more. This is why travel forums are taking an important place in the process. Chinese customers are difficult to convince, they need to trust.

That’s why Qyer is also appreciated. Travelers describe their adventure in detail: the places they visited, where they slept, what they ate, etc … 

These sites could be a real springboard! You just have to know how to use them.

This article will help you to learn more about how to manage the two Chinese platforms for tourism: MaFengWo and Qyer: Guide To The Most Popular Social Media Platforms For Tourism: MaFengWo And Qyer

II- E-reputation and content

If visibility is the first factor to be improved, content is also paramount. Indeed, if you have good visibility but your message is not adapted your customers will not retain it.

First of all, you have to get to know your customers. Understand their needs, and thus their expectations. Then you can move on to the second step, which is to grab their attention to your business and your services.

Next, you’ll need to create a strong brand image that inspires confidence. Again, the nature of the message you will deliver is important. Prudence must be taken to ensure that the image you send out is attractive to Chinese consumers.

Chinese website

A complex Chinese website to build, yet it is necessary. A new website would allow your agency to be considered by the Chinese as a recognized brand.

For obvious reasons, your website has to be in Chinese mandarin and hosted in China, Hong Kong, or Singapore. Just translating your website into Chinese won’t do the trick.
The design must be beautiful and extremely well optimized for mobile.

Make sure you have all your contact info well displayed (Wechat, Phone number, address, mail.. (well, to be honest, no one will email you). Actually, if you have the possibility, integrate a live chat. It is definitely going to give you some extra points.

A page that makes it easy to book and compare your different options.

Now that you have a website, you need to have it rank. Let see how this works


Baidu is the first Chinese search engine, the group has 80% of the market share. Baidu, therefore, represents a considerable opportunity. Now, Baidu is all in Chinese and does not integrate hundreds of languages like google does.

For this reason, the keyword algorithm of Baidu is extremely precise but also English websites have a hard time ranking.

I was saying just above that your website needs to be hosted in China, and the reason is really simple. A website that is not registered in China, doesn’t rank well either. So what would help me rank my website you’ll ask me?

  • Chinese language
  • Hosted in China or around
  • regular original quality content
  • Authority (Backlink and PR will help)

To sump up on the China-Brunei Tourism Partnership:

Brunei has all to win in this partnership and by that, I mean Professional of tourism and all activities that touch Tourism (Restauration, shop, taxi, etc). Because China will promote the country heavily, professionals of tourism will have only one work: promote their services and products. They won’t have to struggle with the weight of having to introduce the country as well as stand out from their competitors.

Gentlemen Marketing agency has worked with many tourism agencies around these techniques.

You can contact us for an expert opinion. Our team is ready to give tips, and advice in order to help you to impose your company on the Chinese market.

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