Here’s Jing Travel’s weekly guide to stories that give insight into Chinese travel trends and how they affect the industry’s main players.
Destinations, particularly those that saw significant growth in Chinese tourists last year, are launching new campaigns to maintain the travel trends. Many of the campaigns to start the year are minor — mostly leveraging WeChat and mobile payment options to improve convenience. While convenience may influence some travelers, particularly those who are already interested in visiting a destination, it won’t be enough to drive future growth in arrivals. More successful destinations have campaigned on their perceived safety and security for tourists, which is a priority among Chinese travelers.
Barclaycard Expands Further with Chinese Payments
A week after Barclaycard announced that it has signed a deal with China’s UnionPay to expand the acceptance of China’s largest credit and debit card company for tourists in the U.K., it also announced that it had signed a deal with Alipay. The deal is an extension of a two-year pilot agreement between the financial companies. Alipay is looking to further expand its footprint across Europe, which was the second most popular continent for Chinese travelers last year.
Can Online Orders Boost Duty-free Sales?
Japanese duty-free retailer Laox, which is owned by Chinese home goods retailer Suning, has begun accepting orders from Chinese travelers before their holidays to Japan. The retailer hopes that ordering online and in-store pickup will boost sales that have declined significantly in recent months. As Chinese tourists shop less while on vacation, the added convenience of not spending time in a shopping center may entice more people to spend a little more.
New Cruise Ship Specifically for Chinese Travelers
Costa Cruises recently launched a $796.6 million cruise ship that specifically caters to Chinese travelers. The Costa Venezia set sail on its 52-day maiden voyage from Italy to Japan on March 8. The ship features mahjong tables and 11 karaoke rooms and can accommodate up to 5,260 passengers. There is even a hot pot restaurant.
North Korea Limits Chinese Arrivals
Following the summit between Kim Jung-un and Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, the North Korean government has reportedly set new restrictions on Chinese tourists (as well as other foreign visitors) to the country. The nation will reportedly limit the number of tourists to 1,000 per day. The majority of tourists to North Korea are Chinese nationals, though even other tourists travel there via China.
Unwelcome Tourists in Japan
Japan may be a popular destination for Chinese tourists — and the government has been doing more to attract the growing number of visitors — but some attractions in the country aren’t as happy with the influx. Some attractions and restaurants have posted signs telling tourists that they are not welcome; in some cases, the signs note that large groups cannot enter. The spurning of tourists is reportedly in response to poor behavior of visitors. While these establishments have not specifically called out Chinese tourists, there have been incidents in the past that caused other establishments to be less than welcoming of Chinese patrons.