At a time when most destination marketing organizations are prioritizing social media to attract Chinese outbound tourists, Israel and the United Kingdom are hosting more traditional travel conferences in multiple Chinese cities in a push for wintertime tourists.
The U.K.’s recent travel promotion in Sanya, Hainan Province, attracted over 90 travel industry players. The Destination Britain tourism exhibition, which runs from November 19 to 21, drew hotels, retailers, attractions, and regional tourism boards, the Chinese media outlet Sina reported. Israel’s Ministry of Tourism decided to take a different approach with a travelling roadshow that passed through Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Kunming and will continue to November 23.
The U.K. is particularly popular among Chinese tourists, as visitors show a keen interest in the its history and culture, and the country ranked second in this year’s Anholt Nation Brands Index among Chinese citizens polled. Exhibitors at the event hope to build on the already strong growth in Chinese tourism to the U.K., which increased 19 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2018. In 2017, Chinese tourists outspent other nationalities in the U.K., spending an average amount of $2,633 (£2,059) per visitor.
Chinese tourism to the U.K. grew 19 percent in the first half of 2018 from the same period last year
The event is co-sponsored by Royal Museums Greenwich, Visit Wales, and China Southern Airlines, and while this tourism exhibition will only be held in Sanya, British museums—including the Victoria & Albert Museum and British Museum—have held their own exhibitions around China recently to promote tourism and drive gift shop sales.
In his speech at the exhibition, director of China and North East Asia for Visit Britain, Manuel Alvarez, said that this year’s event would focus on food tourism in the U.K. while also promoting lesser-known destinations in the country.
Israel has experienced a similar growth in popularity in China. But their in-country events are not solely focused on Chinese consumers, however. Their events include WeChat training sessions to help Israeli tour operators learn to better communicate with their target market. Israeli tourism industry players are also promoting travel itineraries centered around culture and wine.
In the first 10 months of the year, Israel attracted 85,000 Chinese tourists, but the country experienced a slight decline in Chinese arrivals in the first half of the year, mostly due to safety concerns attributed to unrest following U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement that the Israeli embassy would move to Jerusalem.
Following a decline in Chinese tourists at the beginning of the year, Israeli tourism has bounced back in recent months
As part of their improved services for Chinese tourists to Israel, Tencent announced that it would begin operating in the country to allow visitors to use WeChat Pay, Sina reported. Their competitor Alipay first entered the country in January of this year.
Israel currently has three visa processing centers in China in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, and it should open a fourth in Chengdu in time for the Lunar New Year in February.