Chinese Travel Market & the World

According to the latest report published by UNWTO, China’s expenditure on travel abroad reached US$ 102 billion in 2012, making it the first tourism source market in the world in terms of spending. 

Over the past decade China has been, and still is, by far the fastest-growing tourism source market in the world. Thanks to rapid urbanization, rising disposable incomes and relaxation of restrictions on foreign travel, the volume of international trips by Chinese travellers has grown from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012. Expenditure by Chinese tourists abroad has also increased almost eightfold since 2000. Boosted by an appreciating Chinese currency, Chinese travellers spent a record US$ 102 billion in international tourism in 2012, a 40% jump from 2011 when it amounted to US$ 73 billion.


With this sustained growth, China has become the largest spender in international tourism globally in 2012. In 2005 China ranked seventh in international tourism expenditure, and has since successively overtaken Italy, Japan, France and the United Kingdom. With the 2012 surge, China leaped to first place, surpassing both top spender Germany and second largest spender United States (both close to US$ 84 billion in 2012).

Tourism Marketing & China

Destinations have been actively targeting China through their marketing campaigns to capitalise on the increased volume of this travel market and engage Chinese travelers. Let’s see some recent examples:

Tourism Australia Targets China through Mini Series

With China being one of its key markets, some months ago Tourism Australia commissioned a  “micro-film” to be broadcasted online at China’s video sharing site Tudou in five 45-minute segments.

The story chronicles the dramatic romance of a young couple, played by wildly popular duo Rainie Yang and Show Luo. Naturally, the romance kicks off in Australia. According to the media relations department of Tourism Australia, this is a great way of getting across Destination Australia content to a large audience, estimated at up to 10 million, across Greater China.

Tourism Australia sees the potential and high engagement of online video portals and platforms in reaching Chinese consumers nationally in China and across the region. Influential celebrities generate word of mouth, not only for the China market but also amongst the Greater China region.


Advocacy from influential celebrities and their own social media platforms greatly enhance product awareness and preference. The drama content and associated travelogue will also build knowledge of Australian travel experiences for consumers.

Show Lo is one of most popular celebrities in Greater China who, through his singing, acting and TV hosting activities, engages with nearly ten million followers on and eight million followers on QQ—two of China’s leading social media platforms. Rainie Yang has more than 7.5 million followers herself on QG. (More on:

Tourism Queensland targeting Australia’s Chinese community

A new tourism campaign targeting Australia’s Chinese community has just launched in a bid to grow Queensland’s share of the international market and tempt Chinese residents either working or studying in Australia to holiday in Queensland.China is currently Queensland’s second largest and fastest growing international market, according to Tourism Research Australia as in 2012, the state welcomed 261,000 Chinese visitors who spent $468 million on visits, a year-on-year increase of 27 and 22 per cent respectively.


As the Minister of Tourism stated, “Chinese residents in Australia are in a position to advocate Queensland’s tourism experiences to friends and family, both here and in China, following visits to the state”. The campaign was introduced to VIP inbound tour operators, who are active in the local Chinese community at a series of events in Sydney and Melbourne this week.

In partnership with regional tourism organisations, Tourism and Events Queensland will host Chinese travel agents and media outlets based in Australia on visits which showcase the state first-hand. Marketing activities, promoting tailored holiday packages designed to appeal to Chinese residents will also feature in the campaign. The aim is to educate the local Chinese community about the diversity of Queensland’s holiday experiences and encourage more residents to travel to the state.

Sources: UNWTO, Queensland

Destination Partnerships- Who’s your buddy?

In a highly competitive tourism marketplace and especially during times when every part of the available tourism funds matters, cooperation in tourism development and marketing at a regional and cross country level is certainly the way forward.

The initiatives that follow, initiated by destinations all around the world, show us that when it comes to tourism product development and targeted marketing, for increased destination awareness, visitors expenditure and local economic development, two -or in some cases more- is better than one!

China & Korea Join Marketing Forces

The China National Tourism Office (CNTO) and Korean Tourism Organization (KTO) launched a joint consumer travel marketing campaign for the U.S. market.

The campaign is built around a website —— featuring vacation packages to both China and Korea. The website is being promoted through an extensive campaign of both banner and search engine advertising. The objective of the joint marketing campaign is to raise awareness of travel to China and Korea, as well as to promote U.S. outbound travel bookings to China and Korea by driving traffic to tour packages featuring both countries. The campaign began in September and will run through December. The new website features a range of itineraries from experienced tour operators.

“By working with our supplier partners to develop these exciting and appealing tour packages, we will be able to provide diverse choices for travel consumers looking to discover the true magic and meaning that make up China and Korea,” said Xinhong Zhang, director of the China National Tourist Office in New York.

“The travel marketplace is ultra-competitive. It is no longer enough to fly to one destination in a region, even to China. We must make it as easy as possible for tourists to come and discover China and Korea, and begin to see what these two countries have to offer for a complete vacation experience.”


New York City’s got Seoul

Seeing potential in attracting more travelers from Asia, New York City’s tourism agency recently announced a partnership with the government of the South Korean capital to spark more cultural and recreational visits between the two metropolises.

As part of the agreement, an advertising campaign will appear in the entertainment and shopping districts of both cities. More than 130 posters in Seoul will promote travel to New York City; 70 posters in the city will encourage New Yorkers to visit Seoul. Digital ads for Seoul also will appear in Times Square. In addition, Korean Air is offering a discount on flights between Seoul and New York City for a limited time.

The two cities have much in common. “Both are global leaders of business, innovation, design and style,” said George Fertitta, chief executive of NYC & Company. “Both are pop culture capitals.”

The partnership is NYC & Company’s first with an Asian country. It previously formed partnerships with London, Madrid, Sao Paulo and Miami. NYC & Company said travel from South Korea to the United States rose 49 percent last year. About 223,000 South Koreans visited New York City in 2010. Among them, about 60 percent visited for leisure and 40 percent to see friends or relatives. More than 650,000 traveled from the U.S. to visit Seoul, a city of almost 10 million.


Holland & France Target U.S. & Canada with Social Media Campaign

The Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions (NBTC), the France Tourism Development Agency (Atout France), Air France and KLM launched a new social media promotion, called “What’s Your City-Self?” Are you a fashionista or an avid art lover? A design aficionado or a foodie? Until Oct. 26, the national tourist boards of France and The Netherlands as well as Air France and KLM, aim to help U.S. and Canadian travelers discover the individual character that each of these cities have to offer.

“Travelers from the U.S. and Canada often don’t realize how close Amsterdam and Paris are to each other,” said Conrad van Tiggelen, director, North America for NBTC. “By finding out your unique city-self through our joint Facebook application, we’re hoping travelers will be inspired to visit either destination this fall.”

By answering five questions, travelers can find out if they have more in common with Paris or Amsterdam. Once they have uncovered their city identity, travelers will be given itineraries and detailed information on what attractions to visit on their next trip to either Paris or Amsterdam. By entering the quiz through the NBTC, Atout France, Air France or KLM Facebook pages, contestants are automatically entered for the chance to win one grand prize trip for two and experience two nights in Paris and two nights in Amsterdam, including complimentary air transportation on both Air France and KLM.


Cantata, Joint West Europe Tourism Development

Celtic Authentic Niche Tourism Advancing the Atlantic Area

CANTATA2 is a 2.2. million euro tourism development project funded through the Interreg IVB Atlantic Area Programme and working in Denbighshire in North Wales in the UK; Shannon, on the West Coast of Ireland; Galicia, in North West Spain; Poher, in West Central Brittany, France and Montemor-o-Velho, in Western Portugal.

Originally piloted in County Clare, Ireland, as the Live the Life Scheme, it was recognised that tourism is a key economic driver in Europe but recent research indicated that visitors were becoming increasingly suspicious of mainstream marketing; they suffered from marketing overload and could be disappointed by their tourism experiences.

Mainstream tourism drives the visitors to tourism ‘hot spots’ or ‘honey pots’ whereas CANTATA2 aims to move visitors from the ‘hot spots’ to more peripheral and under developed areas and deliver authentic and genuine visitor experiences, thus promoting and strengthening local distinctiveness.

CANTATA2 is the second phase of this project, following a successful phase one that ran from 2005 to 2008.
In phase one, the project carried out research studies and made connections with the local tourism trade to get to know the local businesses and their problems. It also worked with the trade to help promote the local distinctiveness as well as providing opportunities for SME’s and micro-businesses to network and undertake skills training designed specifically for them. The project started at grass roots level, bringing in the local trade early on to tell CANTATA what they wanted from the project as well as steering the project on an ongoing basis. Its success lay in the ability to fill gaps that other projects and funding streams were not able to fill and in it approach to working in an organic manner, continually developing its actions to meet the needs of the tourism trade.

CANTATA2 will capitalise on the knowledge gleaned from phase one and develop the ideas into tangible results. The business networks will be strengthened and more ownership by the local trade will be visible. Results will also include actual tourism products to attract and retain visitors, such as food trails, e-tourism products and trails, cultural events, marketing campaigns. New, innovative technology and marketing methods will be explored and utilised and skills in such will be passed on to the trade.

People are at the heart of CANTATA. The project is intended to foster a sense of pride within these local communities, pride in the region and in the way of life. This will communicate itself to the visitors in terms of a welcoming attitude and in-depth knowledge of the area, a confidence that what the area has to offer is of interest and value to the visitors.


Africa Regional Brand Development – Three Countries, Three Cities

Africa tourism authorities have undertaken to encourage foreign tourists to use the recently launched Three Countries, Three Cities tourism route which involves Swaziland, Mozambique and Mpumalanga Province in South Africa.

The Triland concept is about creating synergy between the three countries where tourism is concerned. It is aimed at making visitors enjoy tourism experiences unique to each of the three countries in one route over a period of 24 hours or more.

Swaziland, for instance, is renowned for its culture and festivities, Mozambique is known for its beaches and vibrant nightlife, and Mpumalanga for its wildlife in Kruger National Park and also the breathtaking natural landscape. The proximity of these countries to one another was seen as something that would make it possible for tourists to have a wholesome experience in a short space of time. They can travel on their own or use tour operators to follow a set route that involves the three countries.

“The new brand will be targeting… international markets such as the United Kingdom, France, Portugal and Italy, to name but a few. Mpumalanga will lead with its flagship wildlife offerings, Mozambique with its pristine beaches and Swaziland will focus on an authentic cultural experience,” said Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) spokesperson Kholofelo Nkambule. The new regional brand seeks to position the region as a world class tourism destination, contribute to employment creation and economic growth.

The launch of the Three Countries, Three Cities brand follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the MTPA, National Tourism Institute of Mozambique (Inatur) and Swaziland Tourism Authority (STA) in 2009. “Stronger relations have been forged with our counterparts in Mozambique and Swaziland, which will make transfrontier tourism a reality, presenting some fantastic multi-destination opportunities for local and international tourists alike,” said Nkambule.

MTPA acting chief executive Nthabiseng Motete said the new brand would also develop sustainable and responsible tourism, participate in the conservation and protection of biodiversity and preserve cultural value and national pride. “The three destinations truly complement one another,” said Motete. She said the new brand would lead to increased lengths of stay, which would translate into economic spin-offs for the region.

Inatur chief executive Hermenegildo Neves said the three countries would work together for a common goal, which is to establish a common business framework for tourism in the region. “By working together, we can all achieve a much more desirable destination status, pooling our resources where marketing and product development are concerned”.


Chinese Tourism Market- A Force to be Reckoned With

Chinese tourists are ready to spend more on their leisure travel this year, according to a recent study by Travelzoo Asia Pacific, while the China Daily/Asia News Network reports that they have already emerged as the top tax-free shoppers in Europe, surpassing the Russians.

Travelzoo Asia Pacific, a division of the global Internet media company Travelzoo Inc. held a survey by interviewing 4,200 Travelzoo subscribers that was conducted over the period of January 4 to January 12, 2011. The survey highlighted that at least eighty percent of mainland Chinese holidaymakers are intending to splurge more on leisure travel this year. The survey also exhibits that 70 percent of Hong Kong residence and 65 percent of the Taiwanese, also responded likewise.

The survey also indicates that mainland Chinese subscribers will expense on average USD 3,780 per person on leisure travel this year, while Hong Kong and Taiwanese holidaymakers will spend on average USD 2, 670 and USD 1, 872, respectively.


The result of the survey also signifies an increasing inclination of the mainland Chinese travelers towards sophisticated travels. Irrespective of the destination, most of the mainlanders showed their inclination towards sightseeing vacations, which topped the list repeatedly, with eco-tourism found as close second option. On the mainland, Tibet was regarded as the ideal eco-tourism destination, surpassing the other popular eco-tourism destinations offered from Canada, New Zealand, Europe and Australia.

The survey also implies the developing trend among the holidaymakers of Greater China to experience interesting yet lavish vacations. The beachfront hotels and spa resorts in particular, providing deluxe facilities are preferred consistently among the top choices. A strong 47 percent of the Hong Kongers put across such viewpoint, followed by 40 percent of the mainlanders with 37 percent of the Taiwanese showing similar preferences.  It has been observed that most of the mainlanders were seeking for harmony of body and mind to fulfill their aesthetic sense while vacationing.

Above all, the survey denotes that the Greater China subscribers of Travelzoo were looking out to explore some new aspects of vacationing. Thus, the fashion of trying exotic local foods and taking active participation in local festivals were spotted as the emerging trends in 2011 among a good half of the travelers surveyed across Greater China.


According to Global Blue, a Switzerland-based, tax-refund and shopping services provider, excluding shopping, the average total cost for each trip for a Chinese tourist stands at 2,000 euros (S$3,502.5). Shopping takes up more than 70 percent of total outbound consumption of Chinese travelers.

On average, outbound travelers from the Chinese mainland spent 744 euros on tax-free shopping transactions last year, doubling the Russian’s 368 euros. Tourists from the United States spent 554 euros and the Japanese 521 euros, according to Global Blue.

China’s outbound tourism has been booming thanks to the appreciation of the yuan and the increasing size of its economy. Tax-free shopping is one of the major incentives for Chinese travelers going abroad.

According to the China Tourism Academy, the number of Chinese outbound tourists is projected to have been 15.42 million in the third quarter of 2010, up 23.5 percent compared with the same period in 2009.

Being aware of the trend to prioritize Chinese customers by European merchants, Sfez said it is important for businesses to know that “Chinese people are not spending machines”.

“They are people. They want information. You cannot schedule a Chinese tourist group like scheduling a train or a flight,” he said. “This is just a different culture. It can be served just like any other: Europeans, Americans or Japanese.”

To cater to the rising number of Chinese travelers, the company brought European merchants to China to meet with local tour operators and get to know the market. In March, Global Blue invited a group of major luxury-brand companies from Italy, France, and the United Kingdom to discover the reality and operation of Chinese market, Sfez said.

Chinese travelers spent the most on fashion, jewelry and watches, and they like to shop at big department stores where more options are available, according to Global Blue.

According to Sfez, many Chinese customers do not know the heritage and history of certain brands. “They prefer brands that are very traditional – brands that everybody knows and sell the most,” he said.

But recently Global Blue has found that Chinese travelers can be highly interested in boutique stores, where the production of high-end luxury goods is limited.

“If merchants want to have a better relationship with Chinese customers, they have to go beyond money. Money will come. But if you establish a solid foundation, it becomes more stable and easier.”

It is not just the level of the brands that matters the most, but also the knowledge of the brands that matter to the consumers, he said.


Statistical Survey Report on Internet Development in China.

A new report  recently released by the China Internet Network Information Center reveals that online travel booking in 2009 increased 77.9 percent, a growth rate that exceeds online shopping (45.9 percent), online banking (62.3 percent) and e-mail (29 percent). Please find below the report’s major highlights:

  • By December 30, 2009, the number of Chinese Internet users and the penetration rate of the Internet have reached 384 millions and 28.9% respectively.
  • The number of Internet users has increased by 86 millions compared with end of 2008 and the annual growth rate is 28.9%.Internet user growth rate in China has slowed down.
  • The number of broadband users has reached 346 millions, grown 76 millions in compared to 2008. In spite of the high penetration rate of broadband, China‘s broadband access speed is far behind the developed countries on the Internet.
  • The number of Chinese mobile Internet users has grown 120 millions, reached 233 millions, accounting for 60.8% of all Internet users. Mobile Internet users become new growing point of Internet users.
  • The number of rural Internet users has reached 10681 millions, accounting for 27.8% of all internet users. The growth rate is 26.3%.
  • In 2009, the number of IPv4 address has reached 232 millions, grown 28.2% in compared to 2008.
  • In the past two years, the number of per Internet user IPv4 address has continuously declined. Meanwhile, Global IP address is facing depletion. To promote the transition of IPv6-based next-generation Internet has become the current top priority.
  • By end of 2009, the total number of domain name is 16.82, 80% of those are .cn domain name. The number of domain names remained stable.
  • The rate for accessing Internet at home continued to grow. In 2009, 83.2% of Internet users access Internet at home. The rate for accessing Internet at home and at work growed rapidly. In 2009, 83.2% Internet users access Internet at home, 30.2% Internet users access Internet at work. The value of Internet as a utility for life and work has been further enhanced.
  • The rate for accessing Internet with mobile phones and laptops increased rapidly, the growth rate for using mobile phone is 98.3% and for notebook is 42.4%; however, the growth rate for desktop is only 5.8%. It is a disticnctive trend that internet access is being conveniently portable in the pocket.
  • The online time per week of Internet users continues to increase, 2.1 hours increase per capita. The rate for use Internet in their spare time is higher. 68.1% for the working population access Internet only in their spare time.
  • In 2009, the first top three Internet applications were Online music (83.5%), Online news (80.1%),and search engine (73.3%). China
  • The user scale of business transaction application sustained the fastest growth, the average annual growth rate is 68%. Among them, online payment users have increased 80.9% annually, ranked first in all applications. Travel reservation, Internet stocks, online banking and online shopping users has increased by 77.9%, 67.0%, 62.3% and 45.9%, respectively. The impact of China’s Internet shows the trend of the transformation from entertainment to consumer business.

Click here for the full report