Here are China’s top tourism business news that you need to know from this week:
Ctrip Launches Family Vacation Services
Ctrip has introduced a customizable private tour package program for families. Packages include a personal tour guide who arranges all aspects of the trip, from accommodation and transport to baby strollers and car seats. Ctrip also owns WeChat group chats, made up of parents who have traveled with children, to encourage them to share travel tips. Read here for more (Chinese).
- Mailman X’s Take: According to this report, 80% of the Chinese outbound travel market is composed of full-FITs and semi-FITs. These travellers generally book small parts of their trip in modular packages such as accommodation or admission tickets, leaving only 20% as group travellers. This new service looks like Ctrip’s way of tapping into the 80% but specifically targeting a more niche travel group with specialized offerings for families.
China’s Outbound Tourism Surge Continues
Mainland Chinese tourists made more than 71.3 million trips outside their country in the first half of the year, a 15% increase YoY, taking advantage of easier visa approvals and more direct international flights connecting lower-tier Chinese cities. Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia are among the top destinations. Find out more here (Chinese).
- Mailman X’s Take: There is a strong correlation to the rising visitation rates with destinations’ adoption of Chinese mobile payments. According to Hotels.com’s research, Chinese travellers felt most welcomed in Japan and Thailand due to their acceptance of Chinese mobile wallet payment systems, sufficient translation/signage and ease of information. Other cities listed, like Hong Kong and Macau already accept Alipay and WeChat Pay and other Southeast Asian DMOs are beginning to implement Chinese mobile payment options for future travelers.
Also this week:
Palau Tourism Suffers From China’s Ban
Palau’s consistent support towards Taiwan’s diplomatic status has brought backlash as the Chinese government banned travel groups from sending Chinese travelers to the Pacific nation at the end of 2017. Since the travel ban, Chinese visitor numbers have plunged even forcing chartered airline Palau Pacific Airways to terminate flights to mainland China at the end of August. Find out more here (English).
Chinese Millennials Drive Digital Travel Sales
Digital travel sales in China will total $133.90 billion in 2018, a 20.5% increase YoY. The rapid growth rate is expected to continue and total sales are likely to outpace the US by 2022. Chinese millennials are the largest demographic using digital travel booking. They proactively find deals via social media and are less reliant on group tours for sightseeing. Click here for more (English).
American Carriers Cancel Direct Flights to Chicago and Honolulu
American Airline will drop a second major U.S.-China route, the Chicago and Shanghai direct service, amid coping with higher fuel prices. Elsewhere, Hawaiian Airlines is suspending its Beijing-Honolulu route due to low demand. Both flights will discontinue in October following China’s peak travel season, Golden Week. Click here and here to find out more (English).
Jetstar Signs First Partnership Deal with Fliggy
Through this partnership, travelers will soon be able to book Jetstar flights directly on Fliggy, giving the Australian low cost carrier access to more than 617 million potential travelers. Jetstar’s partnership strategy is to leverage the momentum of Australia and New Zealand travel bookings, which have increased by 50% in the last year. Click here for detail (English).
Thailand Refuses To Scrap Visa Fee
Amid pressure from local tour operators following July’s boat sinking incident in Phuket, the Thai government has refused to scrap visa fees, stating it is not the way to attract Chinese tourists. Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports claimed that Chinese tourists’ expenditure increased 4.47% YoY despite a 0.87% decrease in visitations. Click here to read more (Chinese).