This is probably the only text about international tourism you will read this week which is not mentioning the dirty V-word.
Let us talk instead about the time after the current crisis will be over and Chinese outbound travellers are starting to take all the leisure trips they could not realise in the first quarter of the year.
For Hong Kong and Australia this might also include some of the trips from the second half of 2019 which were postponed because of the civil unrest and the bush fires respectively. Hong Kong SAR received in the second half of 2019 16,201,168 visitors, or staggering 11,148,194 visitors less compared to the H2 2018, a YoY decrease of 41%. This was the lowest arrival number for the second half of any year since 2011, when Hong Kong welcomed 15.4 million Mainland visitors.
Australia was less hard hit and managed to have almost exactly the same number of visitors from Mainland China in 2019 compared to 2018, with also the second half of the year registering a decrease of just -1% YoY. (All data from COTRI Analytics)
We have said before that the current crisis is a good opportunity to reconsider the marketing and product adaptation policies towards the Chinese market. COTRI is offering CTT online trainings and customised Webinars to support such moves.
Let’s take an example to show how “niche markets” can in fact offer major new opportunities.
Two thirds of all pianos in the world are sold to Chinese buyers, most of them produced by Chinese companies like Pearl River, which acquired the traditional German company Schimmel a few years ago.
40 million Chinese kids receive piano lessons and in recent years more and more affluent senior citizens have also taken up to learn to play.
Most of these persons – or their parents are interested in Western classical music and interested to visit places connected to it, from the houses Bach and Beethoven were born in to the Aeolian Hall in New York City, which saw the first time Rhapsody in Blue performed by Gershwin, or to the banks of the Vltava river depicted in music by Bedrich Smetana. The CTT online training features an interview with a mother travelling with her 10-year old son to different European cities to make selfies in front of the monuments of all the European composers.
Piano music is promoted by the Chinese government. The number of Philharmonic Orchestras doubled in recent years in China, last year saw the first time young pianist battling at the China International Music Competition, a new contest with the biggest award of any comparable event worldwide. Therefore, having the child learning to play the piano is for families not only a matter of prestige, but for some also the path to a promising career.
Very few tours and summer courses catering for this market segments are existing, but this could be a much bigger field, from boot camps with gruesome long hours of training to meetings with the best teachers in Vienna or Salzburg or Tokyo, from travelling in the footsteps of great musicians and staying in traditional hotels which were frequented by them, from listening to great concerts to visiting factories to see how pianos are made.
This is just one example, and to be transferred to Asian and African destinations, instead of classical music probably painting and sculpturing will have to be offered. However, it hopefully shows that deeper market knowledge and the subsequent product adaption – summer camps for groups of kids, composer-themed trips for three generation groups of grandparents, parent(s) and kid can produce new opportunities.
With best wishes from Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the COTRI WEEKLY team