Interesting article by COTRI founder Wolfgang Georg Arlt for Forbes:
- Low-hanging Chinese fruit has already been picked; destinations now need to do some work.
- EU World Bridge Tourism project begun in 2016 will lead to 2018 EU - China Tourism Year.
- In the process, a survey was completed of 26,000 reviews in Chinese social media of European tourist attractions and activities.
Findings: How Chinese tourists view Europe
- Important shopping destination
- Living museum of history and culture
- Exotic and fairy-tale-like
- Like to visit places associated with famous people (European or Chinese)
- Many (especially younger travelers) want to interact with and immerse themselves in local cultures
- Favorite things:
- Culture and history
- Unpolluted environment
- Photo opportunities
- Language difficulty
- Safety concerns
- Bad "Chinese" food
These findings are very consistent with results of other research we've seen. (For some, go to the China category of articles at TourismMarketer.com.)
Everyone seeking Chinese visitors (who is not?) - not just Europeans - needs to work on those 3 "annoyances": language, safety and food.
- Language: A question we're always asked when promoting US destinations to Chinese tour operators is: Are Mandarin-speaking step-on guides available? And always, except for major cities, the answer is no. And for most destinations, there are no Chinese-language signage or maps or brochures available. (In New England, Boston is a notable exception.) Everyone needs to work on this.
- Safety has not until very recently been considered an important dimension of a tourism destination. But now it is, and increasingly so - and there's much evidence that Chinese travelers are very sensitive to it. If your destination is in fact relatively unsafe, there's little you can do about that. But if your destination is relatively safe, you need to say so - in subtle ways - particularly if there's any chance that potential visitors' perceptions aren't consistent with that.
- Food: For hotels, there are some simple things you can do in-house, like making soy sauce available at breakfast. (It's good on eggs.) For destinations, consider the finding (above) that Chinese travelers want to immerse themselves in local cultures - and not just send them to Chinese restaurants but recommend establishments that are doing a good job with local food specialties.
China is the world's largest outbound travel market (more than 130M trips in 2016) - get some!