10 more pieces of insight we’ve heard from the Chinese travel trade and media, and from UKinbound members, this week.
#ChineseTravelWhispers – Part Two
1. One of China’s biggest tour operators told us enquiries are for longer stays than pre-pandemic, and they predict customers will demand higher quality hotel services and facilities.
2. Chinese tour operators are very optimistic. They are preparing for the first major wave of outbound travel during the Chinese May Labor Day Holiday. The tour operators expect the May wave will primarily benefit Asian destinations with the long haul destinations (cited as Australia, UK and Europe) seeing the bounce back from summer onwards.
3. Tour operators are already creating packages to start selling after Chinese New Year. Tourist boards are preparing FAM trips, sales kits and training to support them.
4. Many travel companies are short staffed at the moment, with people sick with Covid or having moved jobs during the pandemic. New positions are being filled from after the CNY holiday (to avoid paying holiday pay).
5. Nobody we have spoken to recently is talking much about the USA. Make of that what you will #politics.
6. One major European tourist board told us that they are expecting the first Chinese tourists in Q2, with the first really high influx to happen in Q3 (China National Holiday). This is in line with our own predictions.
7. Very interesting point made by our friends at the German Tourist Board. They have been trying to push experience-based, activity tourism for years and, although well received by the Chinese trade, the products were rarely included in the final packages. Products were too expensive and it was often too much hassle for the tour operators to change, when consumers were happy with standard itineraries. Now the situation has changed and the market is driven more by consumer demand. Perhaps one of the outcomes of the pandemic will be a move towards new, more diverse products to align with emerging consumer trends?
8. There is a lot of talk about travel as a learning experience eg. workshops to learn new skills. Could be great news for places like The Grand, York who have opened cookery schools.
9. Hotel availability may be an issue. We suspect summer bookings will come quite late, and fear cities like London and Edinburgh may struggle to accommodate. Good opportunity for high quality hotel product a bit further out?
10. At UKinbound, we’re worried about visas. It took about 3 months to sort out visas for India when borders opened. We need this addressed more quickly for the Chinese market or we risk losing the momentum to Schengen.
Read more insight and latest news from the Chinese travel market at www.guanxi.group/news or follow Guanxi on LinkedIn.