Here’s Jing Travel’s weekly guide to stories that give insight into Chinese travel trends and how they affect the industry’s main players.
Numerous destinations, including Los Angeles, South Africa, and France, have launched new initiatives to increase Chinese tourism amid a slowing economy that could see less spending from Chinese travelers. Destination marketing organizations have been focusing on non-peak travel periods to entice more tourists to visit during seasons with lower airfares and hotel rates, but they also hope enough travelers will use some their paid time off to extend the upcoming May holidays for long-haul trips to destinations in North and South America as well as Europe and Africa.
Los Angeles Promotes Tourism in Lower-tier Chinese Cities
The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LATCB) teamed up with Hainan Airlines to promote tourism to their Southern California city across lesser-known parts of China. The roadshow concluded on March 8th in Xi’an, making prior stops in Changsha, Chongqing, and Chengdu, second-tier cities that have become more important to destination marketing organizations lately. In 2017, Los Angeles welcomed 1.123 million Chinese visitors.
South Africa Enlists A-Lister
The South Africa Department of Tourism officially named Chinese actor Huang Bo as the nation’s tourism ambassador to China during the unveiling of a “Sound Museum” in Beijing. The event featured different sounds captured by the actor during a trip to South Africa. The country hopes that Huang’s popularity, combined with the department’s promotional videos, will entice more Chinese tourists into seeing the sights in South Africa.
Extended Labor Day to Increase Outbound Travel
The Chinese government has given the nation an extra day to enjoy International Labor Day on May 1, extending the holiday to four days. Travel industry insiders believe that the extra day will benefit outbound destinations, particularly regional destinations such as Singapore, Japan, and Thailand, but it could even spur more travel to the U.S. The travel industry predicts a total of 150 million domestic and international trips during the holiday this year. The additional day has already generated more Labor Day searches on online travel agencies like Ctrip.com International and Alibaba’s Fliggy. With more Chinese tourists heading out for the holiday, hotel and flight prices are expected to rise as well.
Brand USA Wraps Up China Tour
National destination marketing organization Brand USA wrapped up its tourism promotion tour of China on March 22, an effort that sought to reverse the trend of significantly slower growth in Chinese arrivals to the U.S. in 2018. During stops in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Beijing, Brand USA promoted 26 destinations to Chinese tourists with this year’s theme, “Hear the Music, Experience the USA.” The promotion gave each destination a distinct musical format and included a performance by the well-known ’70s band KC and the Sunshine Band.
Luxury Brands Continue to Falter as Tourists Shop Less
Last week began with news that the Italian fashion house Prada suffered disappointing earnings in 2018 which the company attributed to a decline in Chinese tourist shopping. Other luxury brands have noted the trend but have also improved their sales in mainland China to offset less-than-robust travel spending. Prada, however, did not receive such a boost from domestic Chinese consumers in the second half of the year. Tiffany & Co. also released their fourth-quarter earnings on Friday and blamed its lackluster sales on Chinese tourists for the second consecutive quarter.