Here’s Jing Travel’s weekly guide to stories providing insight into Chinese travel trends and how they affect the industry’s main players.
Contrary to the pessimism surrounding European tourism — generated, in part, by slowing Chinese travel demand — the European Travel Commission (ETC) has predicted a growth rate of 3.6 percent for 2019. The figure is in keeping with the averages from 2008 to 2018 period with southern European and Mediterranean destinations experiencing a boom in Chinese visitors. In the past year, Montenegro grew 150 percent, Cyprus 62 percent, and Croatia 44 percent. In explaining the development of these untapped markets, analysts have cited the indirect effects of the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year and the benefit of direct flights from Chinese cities.
Airbnb China has released promotional videos aimed at tapping into two key summer travel trends: young family travel and post-graduation travel. Ctrip data from June showed a 200 percent year-on-year increase of parent-child travel bookings for the Dragon Boat Festival and a 500 percent surge in graduation-related travel. China engagement is key to Airbnb’s Roadmap strategy to achieve more than 1 billion annual guests by 2028. Efforts include launching Airbnb Plus in Shanghai, carrying out Airbnb Host Academy across numerous Chinese cities, and pushing to increase the number of Airbnb Experiences offered.
The Liangzhu Archaeological Site, the earliest known example of civilization in China, has been named a Unesco World Heritage Site. The award means China now boasts the largest number of such sites in the world with 55, surpassing Italy. The 5,300-year-old site has been forced to limit its number of daily visitors — a reflection of the exploding popularity of domestic cultural tourism. Discovered in 1936, Liangzhu stands on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, and has been redeveloped to include a culture center which houses a library and a theatre.
Thomas Cook Group is discussing a $941 million bailout by the Chinese company Fosun Tourism. The world’s oldest travel company is now struggling to survive in an ever-competitive, low-cost airline market, as package holidays continue to diminish in popularity. Fosun, one of China’s largest conglomerates, already owns an 18-percent stake in Thomas Cook and has spent billions of dollars in recent years buying western tourism and fashion companies. Fosun purchased Club Med in 2015 and hopes to cement its position in the Chinese travel market as the country shifts toward a consumption-driven economic model.