Here’s Jing Travel’s weekly guide to stories providing insight into Chinese travel trends and how they affect the industry’s main players.
Hong Kong Unrest
Hong Kong’s tourism industry is suffering amid ongoing political protests that began in June. Safety concerns and disruptions to the city’s airport are two factors dissuading travelers, and Chinese visitors — who constitute 80 percent of the city’s tourism market — are increasingly reluctant to visit. A recent poll showed that 74 percent of tour operators experienced a decline in business, and hotels are also struggling with revenue from room sales dropping by as much as 50 percent. The Hong Kong unrest is causing economic damage which may encourage influential people in the Hong Kong business community to be more proactive in quelling a turbulent situation.
Outbound Chinese tourists are increasingly being labeled ‘eco-friendly’ individuals concerned with ‘sustainability’ – but often without thorough evidence. However, a recent report by World Animal Protection (WAP) shows a growing intolerance for animal cruelty on the part of Chinese travelers. WAP’s study focused on the attitudes of Chinese tourists towards elephant tourism in Thailand. Between 2016 and 2019, the popularity of riding elephants and watching elephant has dropped 13 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
The Bing Show
Tickets for Xu Bing’s latest show sold out within hours. The Today Art Museum, Beijing, is set to screen Xu Bing’s “World Picture: Dragonfly Eyes,” beginning August 18, 2019. The film is composed of public surveillance footage critically investigating the symbols of modern China. It was first presented by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and later screened at Lincoln Center during the 55th New York Film Festival. The exhibition will also serve as a retrospective of the artist’s forty-year career.
Guangzhou Customs has launched a first-of-its-kind WeChat Mini-Program. The app allows travelers to make customs declarations, check luggage (and pets!), and announce tax-related items at the city’s seven main ports of entry, including Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. The WeChat program is expected to cut the average wait time of passengers in half. Guangzhou Customs handled 11.77 million passengers H1 2019.
Doings after dark
Increasing domestic cultural consumption remains a priority in China. One aspect of the governmental push highlighted at the 7th Beijing People Beneficial Cultural Consumption Season is night-time cultural consumption. Shopping malls, theatres, cinemas, and parks are being encouraged to extend business hours. In the capital, museums such as the UCCA Centre for Contemporary Art in Beijing and the Museum of Chinese Gardens and Landscape Architecture have responded by staying open later, and Shanghai is set to try out pedestrianizing some of the city’s entertainment hubs in a bid to boost revenue.