Here’s a 60-second speed-read of Asia Travel Re:Set Issue #26, published on 31 January 2021.
With Chinese New Year just around the corner, this week’s issue was dedicated to Chinese outbound and domestic travel.
I curated thoughtful insights from 5 renowned Chinese travel experts located in China, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany and the UK. Below are short snippets from each interview.
Prof. Wolfgang Georg Arlt, CEO, China Outbound Travel Research Institute (Hamburg)
Are tourism firms planning for the return of Chinese travellers, or are they taking a ‘wait and see’ approach?
“Some people are starting to look forward now. We just signed a new project in Spain, and another with the Albanian tourism industry. We are also discussing in Switzerland, to offer self-drive RVs for Chinese travellers. Plus, we are also starting to talk with Israel again as they are moving ahead very fast with vaccinations and could have a first-mover advantage. We are also doing a seminar ABOUT how island destinations can prepare for the restart of Chinese outbound tourism. In recent years, more Chinese have been travelling to islands like Jeju, Bali or Maldives, or if they have more money to Tahiti, Fiji and Mauritius.”
Joanne Tang, CEO Infinite Luxury Group (Shanghai)
Are Chinese travellers keen to travel overseas again, or is there some nervousness?
“We see signs of demand and interest for travel when restrictions lift. China has effectively controlled the spread of the virus, and is seeing the leisure and business travel segments recover domestically. Travellers want to travel internationally, but feel restrained by necessary public-health measures and safety precautions, such as quarantines and border closures.”
Anita Chan, CEO, Compass Edge (Hong Kong)
How will your international clients cope with Chinese New Year without Chinese travellers – how will it compare to 2020?
“Unfortunately, 2021 Chinese New Year seems to be worse. In 2020, other than Chinese living in Wuhan, many were still travelling around Chinese New Year as the world did not yet have a full understanding of what happened. To help our clients cope with the situation, we need to work with the domestic market. In Thailand, for example, 11-14% of Thailand’s population is considered ethnic Chinese. In, in 2020, we connected with Mainland Chinese that reside overseas and work with influential KOCs (Key Opinion Customers) to drive domestic Chinese demand for our clients.”
Andrea Plawutsky, Director, Amplify Me (Sydney)
What is the impact of two successive Chinese New Years without Chinese tourists in Australia – will it be worse in 2021?
“There will be no Chinese New Year 2021 travel from overseas Chinese tourists – or any other tourists. The impact will be felt most in the key destinations patronised by Chinese travellers during Chinese New Year, such as Far North Queensland, the Great Ocean Road and state capital cities. Many of these destinations and routes don’t fit domestic tourism patterns, so these regions have seen a devastating drop in numbers. Although the impact of Chinese New Year is significant, there is enormous concern about the lack of inbound Chinese students attending university here. Chinese education and tourism inflows are closely aligned in Australia.”
Helena Beard, Managing Director, China Travel Outbound (Brighton)
Are your clients planning for the return of Chinese travellers, or are they taking a ‘wait and see’ approach?
“Our clients are split into two camps. Smaller clients have paused their international marketing spend. Many are UK museums and attractions, which are currently closed due to lockdowns. Other clients are able to take a more long-term view. They want to be in the best position to attract the Chinese market when international travel restarts, and they know there will be huge global competition for these valuable visitors, especially in the first year. Most of the focus is going into social media and digital marketing partnerships with travel platforms tO demonstrate continued commitment to China.”
This is a short summary version of Issue #26 of Asia Travel Re:Set: “When Will Chinese Outbound Travellers Return?”