The Golden Week National Day holiday in China, which began on Monday, is coming to an end, and Chinese tourists will return home with souvenirs and stories to influence friends and family planning future excursions. While word of mouth is still the best marketing for destinations, social media has growing influence on Chinese travelers’ decisions—and those travel decisions extend to luxury purchases abroad thanks to the efforts of key opinion leaders (KOLs) on platforms like Weibo and Little Red Book.
Social media will continue to play a role in reaching Chinese travelers, and marketers will have to adapt their strategies to the local expectations on those platforms. As some have noted, it’s not enough to have an international celebrity, such as Kim Kardashian, as an influencer in China—local social media users prefer their own KOLs.
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.
Domestic travel boom during Golden Week: Chinese authorities reported that domestic travel increased during the National Day holiday, and travelers spent about $29 billion (RMB 190 billion). While many people took advantage of the holiday to travel home, China also enticed citizens to visit tourist destinations by offering reduced ticket prices. It is unclear whether making domestic destinations will have an effect on the growing number of outbound trips per year.
Travel frequency up, but spending per trip falls: There wasn’t much surprising in China Luxury Advisors’ recent report, but there were a few points that will make retailers and travel companies happy. While spending per trip has fallen, Chinese travelers are taking more trips abroad, which should boost revenue overall. And while shopping is becoming less important for those travelers, retailers can see a rise in spending on high-end beauty products.
Panama Looks to WeChat and Weibo: The Tourism Authority of Panama launched its official accounts on WeChat and Weibo this week, according to state-run media Xinhua. The Central American country is looking to capitalize on tourism from China a year after it officially established diplomatic relations, ending decades of diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Are Chinese teachers banned from traveling abroad?: Some teachers across China reportedly had their passports recalled just prior to the National Day holiday, according to Radio Free Asia. Meanwhile, other teachers received official notices stating that their overseas travel plans must be approved by authorities. There has not yet been any official comment from Beijing on the matter.
Authorities shut down 34 travel agencies: Ministry of Culture and Tourism said that it has revoked the licenses of 34 travel agencies in China following a three-month investigation. It also handed out $1.77 million (RMB 12.15 million) in fines.