In 2017, Chinese tourists were more than 140 million over the world, and they spent USD265 billion on their travels. Only 10% of Chinese hold a passport but the number of China’s outbound tourists is increasing by 4.3% every year.
In 2018, approximately 162 million outbound journeys of Chinese citizens were registered. In 2019, Chinese tourists spent about 254.6 billion U.S. dollars while traveling abroad. Nowadays, Chinese tourists are traveling differently, and new trends are emerging among these tourists.
The Chinese outbound tourism market
China’s global share of outbound travel, which was only 1% in 2005, will now be estimated at one-fifth of world travel by 2023. The rapid growth rate alone is no longer sufficient to explain the evolution of tourism out of China, which is closely linked to the social changes that the country has experienced over the past decade.
The figure for Chinese citizens traveling abroad is expected to reach 192 million Chinese and their total expenditures will reach $458 billion. If outgoing Chinese tourism meets these expectations, this would be equivalent to almost 40% of the total market of outbound tourism for the Asia-Pacific region.
Chinese tourists often go abroad to popular tourist destinations such as Canada, France, the United States, U.K., South Korea, and Japan. However, Chinese tourism has taken another turn, as the Chinese are now more attracted to destinations like Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, or Vietnam.
Top 10 Trends about Chinese Tourists
1. Travelling alone: FIT
There is a reduction in group travel to individual travel, as Chinese tourists are more in search of adventures and unique experiences. According to a survey, 70% of Chinese tourists plan to organize their own travel arrangements.
Moreover, Chinese tourists no longer want a tour guide. Indeed, 17% of them prefer making their own arrangements by preparing the trip and looking on the internet for advice. The new Chinese millennial generation is really complex, to attract this target you will need to use new tools.
They want a unique and amazing experience. Indeed, they want to show their travels to their friends and their family, and they expect you, a travel agency, to make it wonderful and unforgettable.
2. Chinese travelers are Interested in local culture and food
A few years ago, Chinese tourists were mainly traveling within a group and tended to eat Chinese food. However, there is a shift in Chinese tourists’ attitudes and mentality, and they now are more and more conscious of local culture and food. Indeed, they want to try local culinary specialties, especially in countries such as France or Italy.
3. Medical Tourism
Medical tourism is a global trend and is booming worldwide. Plastic and cosmetic surgery, as well as thermal cures, are the main medical travel purposes.
Many Chinese tourists are choosing countries providing lower-cost medical services, such as South Korea, Thailand, or Japan. These countries have already attracted tens of thousands of Chinese tourists by creating specialized medical services.
4. Getting married abroad – The lucrative Chinese Honey Moon Market
Weddings are very important in modern Chinese society and this is an occasion to show one’s happiness and social status to others. Chinese can spend a huge amount of money on their wedding, so going abroad to get married is a way to show wealth and financial success.
Consequently, the market for weddings and honeymoons abroad is booming in China. France, considered as the country of romance for Chinese people, is one of the main destinations chosen. Islands and exotic destinations have also a huge success.
5. Retired Wealthy Chinese Want to travel the world
A recent survey by the National Committee on Aging shows that the number of elderly tourists in China accounted for more than 20% of the total number of tourists in the country, and this group has a stronger desire to travel than the average.
Retired people traveling abroad are more and more numerous and many travel agencies created specialized tours for retired and old people in order to meet their specific needs and expectations.
In this aspect, travel agencies still dominate: this channel of elderly tourism contributed about 70% of the flow of elderly tourists, and traditional travel agency stores are the most important sales channel, accounting for nearly 60%.
Marketing strategies to attract Chinese tourists
6. Video advertisement
The ratio of smartphone users in China has been increased tremendously. In 2017, digital ad spending in China reached $40.42 bn, a 30% increase on the previous years’ spending. Ad spends in China is expected to reach over $80 bn by 2020.
The numbers speak for themselves, this is a lucrative arena in terms of spend and return on investment. Chinese people like to watch videos on smartphones and you can develop unique ideas to spread your brand awareness campaigns through effective video messages.
7. Social media: Because every Chinese is super Connected
China is the world’s largest connected country: more than 90% of Chinese people have an account on at least one Chinese social network.
WeChat, with more than 1.2 billion users registered, is the social media most used in China and, regardless of the size of your company, it is an essential medium to develop your marketing strategy in the country.
By promoting your company on social networks, you can build a community surrounding your company, reach your target, get feedback, and create a friendlier company image.
8. E-reputation: because the Chinese do not want to be scammed
Having a good reputation online is essential in China. Public Relations is one of the key points on which any digital marketing strategy should be based. More than attract Chinese travelers to your website, it is important to raise your company awareness and to make it more visible for Chineses travellers by using online Public Relations.
Chinese internet users spend more than 40% of their spare time on the internet, therefore, you should favor online public relations.
9. SEO on Baidu: The MUST for Travel Players
SEO on Baidu is the key for the visibility of your company in China. Baidu is the most used search engine in China. It is currently ranked at position 4, in the Alexa Rankings among the most visited sites in the world.
Baidu now offers a wide range of services, such as web searches, image search, music, forums, or a Q&A service. Key SEO strategies include keyword optimization, backlinks, and content sharing, this is the way to generate quality traffic. Compared with SEA, SEO takes more time, but it is long term solution in terms of developing a better e-reputation and is ultimately more stable.
10. Challenges and opportunities for Chinese tourism under the COVID-19
At the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 swept China and then the whole world, and it has a huge impact on China’s and the global tourism industry. Under crisis and changes, challenges and opportunities coexist.
How to “survive” in response to the epidemic is the main theme of the tourism industry. At the same time, in the context of industry and consumption changes, the market is gestating major opportunities. Successfully capturing these development opportunities, companies are expected to take the lead in the market recovery and build a competitive advantage.
Companies still need to respond quickly to public opinions, and this is the best time for interaction with targets. For example, even when users are unable to travel due to the epidemic, Mafengwo – one of the largest tourism social media in China, still actively uses content and community to interact with its users. The platform has developed a wishing activity of “#the place to go after the epidemic”, users can write down the destination they want to travel on the page and broadcast it in real-time.
In this way, businesses can enhance user stickiness and create leads. Once the frontiers are opened, those tourism companies who have already well-prepared during the epidemic can quickly respond to get those potential targets and work out appropriate traveling plans for their users.
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