The new Chinese tourists: how to make them welcome

With recent news of Covid-19 vaccines, the natural optimism of the travel industry is starting to re-emerge – and all eyes are on China. The Chinese domestic market is well on its way to recovery and it seems set to be the first outbound market to recover too. So what’s changed since the arrival of coronavirus and how can tourism brands get ready for the new Chinese tourists?

In the first stages of post-pandemic travel, prices for travel and accommodation in China were reduced to stimulate demand. Latterly, as demand has climbed towards normal levels, prices have stabilised. China’s largest airline, China Southern, returned to profit in Quarter 3, and Boeing predicts that it will sell 8,600 jets worth US$1.7 trillion to the Middle Kingdom over the next 20 years.

China’s economy has bounced back too. The world’s second-biggest economy grew by +4.9% year/year in Quarter 3 and it’s set to be the only major economy to grow in 2020. Luxury is booming, restaurant chains are expanding and rising spend on socialising is providing a welcome boost to overseas spirit brands.

The rise of revenge travel

Meanwhile revenge travel has taken off in the Middle Kingdom, proving the resilience of Chinese travellers. Wuhan was China’s most-visited city during Golden Week in early October. And a recent survey by Hilton found that 91% of Chinese travellers plan to travel again once the travel restrictions ease and they can travel with peace of mind.

There is plenty of evidence, then, of a return to high demand for travel from the world’s largest outbound market. And as soon as China lifts its quarantine restrictions and allows free movement, its citizens will once again take to the skies to explore the world.

Are you ready?

But how do you ensure that your tourism brand is ready to welcome the new wave of Chinese tourists? How will you meet their post-pandemic needs? Some small insight into Chinese culture and providing menus in Chinese is no longer enough to stand out from the crowd and attract your fair share of these high-spending travellers.

Freedom, fresh air and luxury

The growing interest in self-drive and self-guided tours has strengthened in the post-pandemic Chinese domestic travel market. Freedom to create their own tours and explore off the beaten track is increasing attractive to Chinese tourists, and a great opportunity for more out-of-the-way destinations and attractions to expand its share of this business.

Trends also reveal a renewed interest in being in nature, with 53% of Chinese parents and 56% of Gen Z travellers citing this as a draw for travel. Fresh air and spending time in rural locations is increasingly important on trips. Gardens and countryside spots are likely to see a corresponding uptick in Chinese visitors.

Luxury trips are also showing growth in China, as tourists treat themselves to an indulgent holiday to make up for missing vacations earlier in the year. Enjoying high quality food and drink and trying out new experiences are important too, as travellers yearn to expand their horizons and satisfy their wanderlust with new and exciting adventures.

The rise of daka tourism is likely to drive even more Gen Z Chinese tourists to venture overseas too.

Brush up on your China Welcome

In Mandarin, the concept of hospitality suggests being friendly to strangers and treating guests well, so that’s what the Chinese expect when visiting new places. Hotels need to positively welcome Chinese visitors, and that’s not just about a friendly check-in; an understanding of Chinese culture and true anticipation of Chinese tourists’ needs is necessary. This may include tea on arrival and help carrying suitcases, and it certainly includes showing respect to Chinese guests.

In the age of coronavirus, Chinese guests expect to be appreciated for their willingness to travel. Of course hotels, destinations and visitor attractions need to show that they’re safe and hygienic too. Enhanced cleaning regimes, no-touch protocols wherever possible, and increased digitisation will all help attract and reassure the new wave of Chinese tourists.

We can help you get ready for the new wave of travellers from China. All types of tourism brands can benefit from our advice on welcoming the new Chinese tourists. And for hotels specifically, we have launched a NEW affordable, ‘Get ready for China’ consultancy service which combines an introduction to Chinese culture, update on post-pandemic trends, advice on sales and marketing your hotel, along with great tips for preparing your offering to make your Chinese guests feel welcome.

‘Get Ready for China’ hotel consultancy (one hour) – £300 plus VAT

Independent, single property – discounted rate – £200 plus VAT until 31 January 2021.

The meeting will be conducted over Zoom and can include up to three attendees. Additional attendees will be charged at £50 per person.

Contact Julie Withers to book your dedicated hour today.

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