China’s outbound tourism is growing rapidly, with 150 million going abroad in 2015, up from 130 million in 2014 – and with an expected 200 million traveling abroad in 2020.
Asia is of course the dominant destination, but other destinations are increasingly attractive and many countries currently see growth rates of at least 15% per year.
China’s 1st generation tourism was characterized by very little focus on experiencing the local culture. The Chinese themselves described: ”On the bus: Sleep. Off the bus: Take photo”. As a result of their own approach to traveling Chinese tourists have generally been treated as second-rate tourists.
But as China has become richer the Chinese are rapidly becoming more sophisticated. This is particularly true for tourists to destinations outside Asia, who often travel precisely because they want to broaden their horizon and experience a ‘richer’ culture. And increasingly they want to travel without being surrounded by a hordes of other Chinese.
Make no mistake: New Chinese tourists generally have a real appetite for a local culture, art, history and food.
One word sums up where China’s FITs can and must be reached: Online.
Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube etc. are all blocked in China.
But China has its own - extremely popular and very vibrant - social media platforms with much higher competition and even higher degree of innovation than its Western counterparts.
These can be separated into general social media and travel specific social media.
At Shanghai Jungle we help a wide range of clients in the tourism industry with social media marketing solutions for the clients’ dreaming, planning and sharing phases.
By far the most important social media in China. Enables direct dialog between account owner and followers. 762 million users (2016).
A lot like Twitter but of declining importance. 212 million active users (2015).
China’s largest video sharing site. 232 million users (2015)
Baidu is China’s Google and Baidu’s travel forum (‘Lvyou’ = travel) is the no.1 forum for posting and exchanging travel stories, tips etc. Almost all content user generated (P2P)
The biggest independent travel planning site in China.
Most content is user generated (P2P)
The ‘Instagram for Chinese travelers’. Focus on photos and short videos. Most content is user generated (P2P)