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.
The U.S. tourism industry has definitely felt the blowback of Donald Trump’s trade war, as Chinese visitors went down a significant 5.7 percent in 2018. This information from the National Travel and Tourism Office, along with previous warning signs of flatlining market growth, proves that the trade war stalemate between the world’s two largest economies is negatively affecting a broad range of sectors. As South Korea’s THAAD debacle proved, Chinese travelers are swayed by nationalist sentiment, and since they have a plethora of alternative destinations available to them, expect the number of visitors to the U.S. to worsen should the Trump-Xi standoff continue.
The Louvre is suffering at the hands of its own success after the museum’s staff staged a walkout on May 27 to protest unsustainable levels of overcrowding. Chinese visitors constituted approximately one-tenth of the 10.2 million visitors last year, and although it would be unfair to assign responsibility to one national group, the incident is indicative of the broader overcrowding problems that have plagued other European cities such as Florence and Prague.
The National Museum of Victoria (NVG) continues its China-centric strategy with a dual exhibition that opened May 24 that presents the terracotta warriors alongside new artworks by the contemporary Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. And of further interest, NVG is now offering complementary Mandarin-language tours for visitors on weekends. NVG is a leader in appealing to outbound Chinese tourists, and ever since they partnered with China marketing specialists Gaibo Agency, the Melbourne-based museum has developed a strong presence on Chinese social media sites Weibo, WeChat, and Little Red Book.
Western cultural institutions hoping to attract more Chinese visitors might want to look to Suzhou Tourism for inspiration. Despite lacking the international renown of China’s most celebrated sites, Suzhou enjoyed a terrific 2018 — and an even better 2019 so far. Since partnering with PHG Consulting in 2014, the east China city has steadily built its brand with integrated social media, PR, digital marketing, and a smart trade show strategy. The city, which is famed for its crafts and sericulture (silk production), garnered more than 530 million social media impressions between June 2018 and May 2019.