Restarting Chinese outbound tourism

The greatest challenge

by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS

Dear Reader,

Last month we asked our followers on LinkedIn to participate in an ADVANTAGE: TOURISM poll. The question was: “What do you see as your greatest challenge for the Chinese outbound tourism market 2021?”

Four possible answers were offered. The answer which received the highest number of approvals with 35% was “Increase knowledge and awareness”. “Product Adaptation and creating” and “Implementation of Digitalisation” reached each 26%, whereas “Yield enhancement” got only 13% of the votes.

“Increasing knowledge and awareness” was also the title of our webinar, which we offered last week in cooperation with our partners Island Innovation. Thank you to all of you who participated and asked many good questions and/or gave comments and, we are happy to say, a very positive feedback. The presentation by Hans Lagerweij, CEO Albatros Travel, showed Greenland as an island destination, which became quite popular with Chinese visitor before the virus. It was obviously unknown, but perceived as attractive to many participants. Anita Chan, CEO Compass Edge braved the late hour in Hong Kong to tell about mini programs and the move of marketing from offering items on a “restaurant menu” towards offering choice with samples from a “sushi conveyor belt”. The third intervention by Richard Adam, CEO Trend Transfer rectified, discussed some misconceptions about the Chinese market and explained how the ADVANTAGE: TOURISM program, of which he is a senior expert, can help with a sustainable future development of the Chinese market.

Before the interventions your humble editor had the opportunity to provide a keynote with an update of China’s post-pandemic tourism, of course with a focus on visitors to island destinations.

However, the first voice heard in the webinar belonged to Joel Keimelo, Marketing Coordinator Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion         Authority since 2010. He described the first-hand experience of a rather off-the-beaten-track destination with the Chinese market. Between 2011 and 2018 more than 50,000 Chinese visited PNG. However, less than 10,000 of them were leisure tourists because of the underdeveloped connectivity and visa issues as well as the language barrier. Only after additional agreements for economic cooperation between China and PNG were reached in 2018, the first bona fide tour groups from China arrived in 2019. In the last twelve months for the obvious reasons that Chinese were not able to arrive in PNG, but the country still maintained a digital presence in the Chinese market and plans to continue to concentrate on virtual marketing tools in the post-pandemic period, which might for PNG start with creating a CoViD-19 free travel bubble between China and PNG based on direct flights.

Joel Keimelo clearly stated that a focus on niche products, in line with the ADVANTAGE: TOURISM approach, will be the way forward for PNG in the Chinese source market.

If you missed the webinar, a recording is available on COTRI YouTube Channel.

In March, COTRI will offer two new online events: On March 11th a presentation and panel discussion is scheduled as part of the ITB Berlin NOW Convention in cooperation with WTCF World Tourism City Federation under the title “New Normal, New Practices”. At the end of the month another ADVANTAGE: TOURISM webinar about winter sport destinations with regard to the newly kindled interest of Chinese travellers in snow activities by the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics will follow.

As always, all best wishes for the week from Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the COTRI Weekly team!

P.S: The video version of this editorial is also available on COTRI YouTube Channel.

COTRI Intelligence

COTRI Intelligence is the indispensable source of weekly consulting, analysis, data and news for everybody seriously interested in the post-pandemic Chinese outbound tourism market and changing Chinese consumer preferences.  COTRI Intelligence is published by COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute and edited by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS. Regional partners and Content partners [...]

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