Here are China’s top tourism business news that you need to know from this week:
Chinese Government Warns of Travel to the U.S.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., warned Chinese visitors to the U.S. of the perils of traveling to America. Robberies, shootings, searches and seizures by U.S. customs, natural disasters, and telecommunications fraud were all listed and Chinese tourists were advised to avoid going out alone at night. The move has caused a considerable amount of hand-wringing among members of the travel industry who have steadily ramped up their Chinese marketing efforts over the past 10 years. Read here for more (English).
- Mailman X’s Take: Safety has always been a concern for Chinese travelers when traveling abroad. However, despite this warning, plenty of travel to the U.S. will continue as long as China doesn’t enforce a strict travel ban as they did to Korea. The US market has matured and the increased ease of obtaining a 10-year visa has lead to more and more repeat visitations. This trend enforces the importance of developing a strong campaign strategy to capture the positive moments when Chinese travel to your destination. Word of mouth through social will continue to be a key driver in influencing travel decisions.
Post Boat Tragedy, Chinese Tourists Cancel 7,300 Hotel Bookings
Around 7,300 Thai hotel rooms, booked by Chinese tourists, have been cancelled following the Phoenix tour boat tragedy, which claimed 47 Chinese tourists’ lives earlier this month. It is estimated that the boat incident will cost Thailand 42 billion Baht ($1.2 million) over the next two months. Authorities are stepping up efforts to reclaim confidence in the country’s marine tourism and publicise the presence of stringent safety checks. Find out more here (English).
- Mailman X’s Take: Type 泰国 (Thailand) into a Weibo search, and you will be suggested a lot of topics related to the Phoenix tragedy. Following the news, Thailand Tourism Weibo account immediately issued a formal letter of apology. The Weibo account also published an article titled “Traveling to Phuket, Is It Safe?”. Although the letter and article received significant backlash, public apologies play a crucial role in this sort of crisis management scenarios. It will take some time and huge amounts of effort before Phuket recovers from this.
Also this week:
Booking.com Pours $500 Million into Didi
The two firms announced the investment in a joint statement, claiming Booking’s service will be available on Didi’s app and in return, Booking will allow its users to hail Didi cars through its app. This new initiative is aligned with Didi’s effort to enter new markets outside of China. Find out the details here (English).
Dubai’s China Arab TV Signs Deal to Broadcast Dubbed Versions of Popular Chinese Shows
Under the “China Theater” agreement, Dubai based China Arab TV (CATV) will broadcast popular Chinese TV shows dubbed in Arabic. The screening of popular Chinese films and TV series in Dubai will help foster mutual understanding of each other’s culture and deepen bilateral friendships. Click here for details (English).
China Summer Outbound Bookings are 13.5% Ahead
According to joint research by ForwardKeys and the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI), China outbound bookings for the summer are ahead 13.5%. With more than 120,000 new orders a month, demand for customized travel showed a 300% growth, representing 15% of the market share. Europe – and particularly the UK – are the destinations most favored by these new customized travel packages. Click here to find out more (English).
Thailand’s Hotel Group Offers WeChat Pay
Thai hotel chain, Centara Hotels & Resorts, has signed a new deal with WeChat Pay, enabling WeChat users to reserve and make payments for hotel rooms via Centara’s online booking platform. Currently, 15 Centara hotels are equipped with 100 WeChat Pay devices. With this initiative, Centara is Thailand’s largest hotel group offering Chinese tourists omni-channel payments. Click here for more (English).
Air France, KLM, China Southern and Xiamen Airlines Extend Joint Venture
The four airlines are merging their two existing agreements to create a single joint venture. By connecting the four airlines’ networks, the joint venture offers customers a huge choice of destinations connecting Europe to China with many more optimized transfers and connection times. Currently carrying 1.25 million passengers between Europe and China annually, the extended joint venture is hoped to strengthen the two European airlines’ position in the Chinese air transport market. Find out more here (English).
Chinese Underpin $42 Billion Tourist Cash Splash
International tourists are spending more than ever while holidaying in Australia, forking out $42.3 billion over the past year. The trend is underpinned by the growing numbers of Chinese visitors. Spending by Chinese tourists rose 13% ($1.3 billion) YoY at the start of April, lifting their total spend to a record $10.9 billion. Experts have attributed the rapid growth partially to the lasting effects of the 2017 China Australia tourism year and a landmark aviation agreement. Click here for details (English).