The German National Tourist Board opened its annual tourism conference in Beijing on Monday. During the four-day event, they hope to generate traveler interest prior to the opening of the first-ever EU-China Virtual Travel Fair on Cultural Tourism later this month.
It’s only the most recent example of the country using technology to help attract outbound Chinese tourists, with social media being at the forefront of those efforts. The nation’s Tourist Board has been active on Weibo since 2011 and has attracted over one million followers. Its account highlights various aspects of the country that might be of interest to Chinese travelers, including cuisine, culture, and cities outside the major tourist hubs. While the posts don’t include links, they all include images and hashtags to draw more attention to the account. Meanwhile, they’ve also set up an official WeChat account that publishes travel articles on the app. One recent post about German history attracted 759 views and 12 likes as of November 13.
That social media push is a big reason Germany has already had a lot of success with Chinese tourists. The tourism board’s Beijing office representative Li Zhaohui noted that Germany was atop the national branding rankings in China this year, according to the Anholt Nation Brands Index, emphasizing Chinese perception of the country as a tourist destination. “In 2019, we will continue to promote the brand, increase digital marketing efforts, increase exposure through major online platforms in China, and develop innovative promotion methods to enhance Germany’s image as a tourist destination,” Li told Chinese media outlet Sina.
China has been an important source market for Germany, which welcomed 2.85 million Chinese tourists last year. China came in 10th along with Poland in the number of tourists to the country last year, and it was the only source market outside Europe and the U.S. in the top 10. In the first eight months of 2018, the number of Chinese tourists in Germany reached 1.98 million, an increase of 5.6 percent from the same period in 2017, and the German National Tourist Board predicts China will be the seventh largest source market by 2030 with triple the current number of overnight stays. German tourism may also benefit from being listed second in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019 Top Countries, which was also distributed on Chinese social media.
As far as favored destinations go, according to the Tourist Board, more than 30 percent of Chinese tourists chose Bavaria as their destination of choice, followed by Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, and Berlin.
Germany was the second most popular European destination in the first half of the year, according to Ctrip.com International. The online travel services provider noted that most Chinese tourists combine trips to Germany with at least one other nearby nation, such as Austria, Switzerland, France, or Italy. The platform added that 44 percent of all travelers opted for tour packages that cost $1,367-2,158 (RMB 9,501-15,000), with 27 percent not exceeding RMB 9,500 and 29 percent spending over RMB 15,001.