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.
This week’s focus has been on the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s leader Xi Jinping as the two sides sought an end to their trade war. Meanwhile, destinations outside the U.S. are working hard to win over Chinese tourists who are now shying away from American travel. What are these destinations doing? The smart ones are looking beyond traditional marketing strategies in China, expanding their usual posts on Chinese social media sites like WeChat and Weibo, and even using video games to entice potential travelers. And one destination — this year’s G-20 Summit host country, Argentina — is hoping to take advantage of their recent media coverage and become a preferred spot for Chinese tourists over the next year.
Panama Ups Its Profile with State Visit
Following the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, President Xi Jinping stopped in Panama City for his first official visit since establishing diplomatic relations with the Central American nation. Panama has recently been on Chinese tourist radars, with many younger travelers adding the destination to their wishlists.
Fliggy Launches Rwandan Tours
Alibaba’s online travel agency Fliggy has begun selling package tours to Rwanda. The tours come after the central African nation partnered with Alibaba Group as the first African nation to join the e-commerce giant’s eWTP (Electronic World Trade Platform) at the end of October and should help Rwandan businesses promote their services and products online, specifically to a Chinese audience.
More Chinese Travelers Are Turning to Weibo to File Complaints
The popular microblogging platform has become the go-to place for Chinese travelers to voice their dissatisfaction with travel experiences, and it might be time for tour operators and marketing organizations to pay attention to those Weibo posts to improve customer service. Users have posted complaints ranging from booking problems on Ctrip and Fliggy to tour guides selling misrepresented products in Thailand.
New Flights to Philippine Hotspot
Beijing-based OK Airways (奥凯航空) announced that it will offer new flight routes to Boracay, a popular beach destination in the Philippines. The new flights began today to the provincial capital Kalibo from Nanning and Changsha. Last year, the island welcomed more than 300,000 Chinese tourists, and it hopes the new flights will increase the beach resort’s popularity. Overall, the Philippines targets 1.5 million Chinese tourists in 2019.
Visa Reforms Recommended to Increase Chinese Arrivals
The European Travel Commission recently recommended that its 28 member nations adopt visa liberalization to attract more Chinese tourists. The organization’s justification for the action is that a complicated and expensive visa process is a barrier for many Chinese travelers. It estimates that offering visa-free stays would increase Chinese arrivals by 18 percent per year through 2023.