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.
2018 saw a record number of Chinese outbound visitors, and now destinations are looking for ways to keep that momentum going after a successful Lunar New Year travel period. That means destination marketing organizations (DMOs) — as well as other businesses reliant on tourist spending — are brainstorming promotions that will attract visitors in the first half of the year, as opposed to traditionally travel-heavy periods starting around International Labor Day on May 1st and leading into summer vacation.
Many of these destinations will focus their promotions on the convenience of travel for outbound tourists from China. That’s why European nations like Austria have worked hard to expand Chinese mobile payment acceptance — something that makes life easier for Chinese tourists during their trips while also boosting earnings at local businesses.
High-end Australian Hotels Hit by Tighter Chinese Wallets
The Australian casino Crown Resorts said that spending by VIP guests declined by 12 percent year-on-year in the second half of 2018, pointing to a steep decline in spending by wealthy Chinese visitors. The resort noted that it did not experience a decrease in the number of visitors overall, just that their spending at Crown Resorts properties decreased from the previous year. VIP spending actually increased by 16 percent year-on-year the previous year.
Universal Studios Banks on More Chinese Tourists
Los Angeles welcomed 1.2 million Chinese travelers in 2018, and many of them visited Universal Studios. In response to this influx of tourists, Universal Studios added a “Mandarin VIP Experience” tour on January 24 — a service they will continue to offer through June 1, 2019. The tour starts at $363 (RMB 2,443) per person.
Chinese Homeshare Mini-program Looks to Compete with Airbnb
Chinese online travel agency Tongcheng-Elong took a big step toward capitalizing on the growing homeshare market in China with the release of a WeChat mini-program called Lazy Cat Homestay. The mini-program was released just before the Lunar New Year and has already attracted more than half a million domestic hosts to the platform. The service is only available in China at the moment, but the company plans to expand to popular outbound destinations.
Europe Gets Tourist Spending Boost during CNY
Chinese tourists have supposedly curbed their spending over recent months, but Europe seems to be unaffected by the trend. according to data from Alipay, European nations were the top destinations for tourist spending during the Lunar New Year holiday. Countries in Europe dominated the mobile payment platform’s top 10 list for average spending during this important travel period.
Hungary Sees a Surge of Chinese Tourists
The U.K. is the most popular European destination for Chinese travelers, but the Eastern European country of Hungary is beginning to gain attention as China’s tourists look for new experiences. The nation experienced the third-highest relative growth in Chinese tourist arrivals in Europe after Croatia and Estonia, and Chinese arrivals to Hungary jumped 25.1 percent year-on-year in 2018.