Here are China’s top tourism business news that you need to know from this week:
Europe’s Rapid Growth of Chinese Tourists
2018 is the EU-China Tourism Year and has seen Chinese arrivals to the EU increase 6.6% over the first 6 months. The top destinations are Germany and France, while Turkey, Ukraine and Hungary have also experienced rapid growth. Due to the FIFA World Cup’s opening coinciding with China’s Dragon Boat Festival, Russia also experienced a rapid increased during the week of June 14th when bookings were 173% higher than 2017. Find out more here (English).
- Mailman X’s Take: Despite having the advantage of hosting World Cup during the EU-China Tourism Year, we haven’t seen Russia utilizing Chinesa digital platforms to further promote its tourism sector. Considering China and Russia’s proximity, with the right strategy Russia could have secured far higher numbers from China to the FIFA World Cup finals week rather the current -17% visitations. The build up to the competition would have an opportune time to launch their digital presence in China.
African Countries Eye Chinese Tourists
Chinese travelers are welcomed with open arms in a number of African nations. Many African countries are relaxing their visa policies by providing visa-on-arrival services with some introducing visa free travel for Chinese tourists. However, many African destinations are struggling with a lot of other issues, including name recognition, perception and lacking tourism infrastructure. Learn more here (English).
- Mailman X’s Take: A lack of direct flights and awareness, misinformation around destinations, and the common misconception that all of Africa is unsafe are a few of the major hindrances of African tourism in China. We’ve seen South Africa, Kenya, Namibia and Seychelles approaching Chinese audiences through Weibo. However, we are yet to see other popular destinations, such as Egypt, establishing an official presence on China digital. Another opportunity missed.
Also this week:
Didi Chuxing Expands to Australia
Following Didi’s international expansions in Mexico and Brazil, the ride sharing giant will start serving customers in Melbourne from 25th June following a month-long trial period in neighboring city Geelong. Undoubtedly, Didi will offer plenty of discounts and promotions to customers and drivers to gain immediate traction a quick head start. Drivers have been able to register for Didi since the beginning of June. Uber, Ola and Taxify will be Didi’s main competitors. Read more here (English).
WeChat Launches AR-Based Real Time Translation
WeChat’s newest version (6.6.7) now allows the apps scan feature to to translate text. Users can point and capture an image of English or Chinese text on any medium, and WeChat will translate it within seconds. Click here for more information (English).
China Heats Up Canadian Tourism
As of March 2018, almost 70,000 Chinese nationals entered Canada. China has now surpassed the U.K. as the second largest source of visitors to Canada. The UK has held the No. 2 spot for three decades. Given that 2018 is also the Canada-China Year of Tourism, the number of visitors is expected to continue rising though the year. Read more here (English).
Lufthansa’s China Digitalization Strategy Takes Off
Realizing Chinese passengers are digital savvy, Lufthansa has introduced onboard WiFi and ejournals as a part of its entertainment service. In the coming months, Lufthansa will launch a sales feature on its existing WeChat official account which will cooperate with Fliggy and Ctrip to further increase direct sales. Find out more here (English).
Wheelchairs Join China’s Sharing Economy
Beijing-based XiaoV provides self-service wheelchair rentals in and around hospitals. Like other sharing economy businesses, XiaoV requires a customer to scan a QR code printed on its wheelchairs. The first two hours are free, following which users are charged 1 yuan for each additional 10-minute interval. More on this new trend (English).
WeChat Enables Real Time Tax Refund
The service, dubbed WeTax Refund, allows real time tax rebates at 77 airports in Europe and Asia, namely South Korea, Germany, Italy, Greece, and Finland. This service enables travelers to quickly apply for tax refunds in the app for free. WeChat will not impose any fees on the transactions. Click here for step by step guide (English).
Google to Invest $550 Million in JD.com
JD.com and Google have announced that Google will invest $550 million into China’s largest retailer as part of a strategic partnership. The companies hope to explore retail opportunities together in Southeast Asia, the US and Europe and certain products will be made available on Google Shopping. Click here for more (English).