China’s online travel agencies continue to release surveys of their customers, and they all emphasize that their largest demographic is now travelers under the age of 28 who prefer independent travel experiences. In turn, those same companies are working harder to offer services on their sites that cater to these younger travelers and their more diverse tourism demands.
Destination marketing organizations and tourist attractions should follow along to improve marketing to this growing demographic of travelers. With the help of WeChat and Weibo, less popular attractions can get on tourists’ radars during the planning stages of travel, but that all depends on how engaging these destinations are on social media, and some attractions and destinations are doing a better job than others.
Here’s Jing Travel’s weekly guide to stories (including our own) that give insight into Chinese travel trends and how they affect the industry’s main players.
El Salvador Pitches Tourism to Newest Diplomatic Ally
El Salvador made its first tourism pitch to China since ending diplomatic ties with Taiwan in August. It joins Nicaragua as a destination of interest since establishing ties with China. Salvadoran ambassador to China, Walter Duran, spoke at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Beijing to promote the Central American nation as a tourist destination. Chinese citizens have visa-free entry to El Salvador, but there are no direct flights between the countries at this time. Chinese travelers currently need to transfer in Mexico, the U.S., or Canada.
Saipan Targets Return of Chinese Tourists
Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog of the U.S. Commonwealth Northern Mariana Islands—of which Saipan is the largest—was the keynote speaker at the Conference on International Tourism Communication in Hainan Province. Hocog noted in his speech that social media and marketing campaigns have produced positive results for tourism to the islands, and that redevelopment of the commonwealth following Super Typhoon Yutu has been going smoothly (Saipan resumed flights, with Hong Kong Express the first arriving on November 23.) Meanwhile, the Chinese government has issued a warning for tourists that the islands are not fully recovered from typhoon damage.
Luxury Brands Taking a Hit from Decreased Chinese Traveler Spending
Jing Travel has covered reports that Chinese outbound travel continues to grow, although with per trip spending falling this year. On top of that, growth in tourist arrivals in the United States has taken a hit as tensions between the U.S. and China remain. This trend is now seeping into the luxury retail market as Tiffany & Co. blamed lower-than-expected revenue on decreased spending by Chinese tourists in the U.S. and Hong Kong. The luxury travel shopping trend is also hurting because of China’s crackdown on daigou (traveling shopping agents who buy luxury goods overseas to bring back into China for resale) who have had to adjust their business strategies.
Thai Airways’ Budget Partnership in China
National carrier Thai Airways signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese budget carrier Spring Airlines this week to help boost tourism to Thailand. The Thai carrier has seen a 10 percent year-on-year decline in Chinese travelers in the third quarter, partly due to a boat accident that killed several Chinese passengers in the country this past July.
WeChat Drives Tourists to SF Asian Art Museum
San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum has a strong social media presence in China, and the number of Chinese tourists flocking to the museum proves that the strategy is working. It was the top ranking museum on WeChat according to a China Luxury Advisors’ white paper. One reason is that the museum offers more than just articles to engage with users of China’s largest communication app – they’ve also established a mini-program that offers visitors audio guides in Mandarin.