Chinese tourist: attract tourists from China

Chinese Tourists

The Asian countries strategies to win back the Chinese tourists

  Malaysian, Thailand, Vietnam have been hit hard by PR catastrophes

This year multiple catastrophes have hit the southeastern countries, scaring away Chinese tourists. Riots, multiple plane crash, a military coup. It is a hard hit for those countries hoping to take their share of the Chinese tourists spending.

But these countries haven’t given up just yet, as a proof they are putting in place different strategies to get the tourists back.

Let’s not forget that the situation was good before this series of unfortunate events :

Chinese tourists were massively coming to Thailand with a reported 68% YOY growth in 2013 totalling 4.7 million arrivals. Prior to the multiple plane crashes Malaysia enjoyed a 14.9% growth rate in the number of Chinese visitors reaching a nice total of 1.7 million. Meanwhile Vietnam had a quickly expanding tourism industry with new facilities and casinos that appealed a lot to Chinese tourists, translating into a 34% growth rate this year

A streak of event that hit hard south eastern countries

where-is-MH3704

January this year saw the beginning of the end for those countries, with first Thailand uprisings going into a military coup that caused a fall of Chinese tourists by 25% YOY with Bangkok suffering a larger penalty of 40%.

Malaysia had it bad in March this year with the massive boycotts of its resorts and airlines after the crash of the MH370 worsened in April by the kidnapping of a Chinese tourist which translated into a 19% drop.

For Vietnam May was the bad month with huge anti-China protests after an oil rig problem in the Vietnamese water that caused the death of Chinese workers followed by the massive evacuation of Chinese tourists. Mainland visitors rate were cut by 30% as a result and there was a 72% drop of visitors from Hong-Kong.

These major catastrophes impacted the nearby countries since they were often part of multi countries tours. As an example Singapore saw a 1.7 YOY drop from January to May 2014

Tourism officials fight hard to win their most important customers back

Even though the situation is bad in those countries they are not ready to give up just yet and are putting in place strategies to repair this PR disaster. Indeed for a lot of these countries the Chinese tourism is a vital part of their tourism industry.

Chinese tourists are :

  • 1st largest group for Thailand and Vietnam
  • 3rd most important group of tourists in Malaysia

Despite its previous declarations about stopping all of its promotion efforts until the MH370 was found the Malaysian government resumed its efforts to conquer this vital clientèle. The celebration of the 40th anniversary of China-Malaysia relations was a golden opportunity for the Malaysian prime minister to go to Mainland China to tighten the diplomatic relations between the two countries. The second Malaysian plane however did not influence the Chinese tourism like this article from the Time shows.

Singapore, on the other hand took advantage of the poor situation of Malaysian Chinese tourism to launch a campaign whose objective is to convince the Chinese tourists to favour Singapore and simply ignore Malaysia.

Strong marketing campaign helps reduce the damage done by the catastrophes

Vietnam

The military in Thailand have also their eyes on the Chinese tourism market with a visa fee waiving for Chinese tourist between the peak travel dates of August 1 and October 31 as a promotion move. The local tourism authority launched in parallel a shopping campaign offering many discounts, something that Chinese are always looking after. They also used a Key Opinion Leader, the Olympic Gold Medallist Guo Weiyang. In a PR effort they have invited the Chinese tourism officials to take part in various activities in order to demonstrate that visiting Thailand is safe

What about Vietnam? Officials have focused their efforts on marketing activities to send a strong message of Vietnam as a safe destination

What is bad for one may well be a good thing for another

While these countries had to set severe damage control campaign to win the back the heart of Chinese tourists others have been enjoying the increasing interest of mainland visitors for them.

For instance Sri Lanka has seen a startling 137% increase in its number of Chinese visitors for the first part of 2014. Others wants to experience other destinations than the traditional Thailand and have chosen Bali instead. Thus the island enjoyed a 41% YoY increase of arrivals.

Cambodia was able to benefit from the problems in the standard destinations fro Chinese tourists by marketing itself as another choice for Chinese tourists. This success caused a 18ù rise in Chinese tourists arrival in April this year.

Despite all the bad, officials have optimistic forecasts for the second half of 2014

Malaysia

Finally, against all bets, the officials from the countries hit by the catastrophes of this year are optimistic and foresee a growth :

  • Malaysia is hoping for a whopping 2 million Chinese tourists
  • Thailand predicts growth as well.
  • Only Vietnam stays cautious in the potential number of arrivals

This year has seen an important shift in the South eastern Chinese market that is difficult to measure in the long run. Will this shift cause a lasting change in the destinations most chosen by the Chinese tourists? It is hard to truly predict since there is so much competition and the hard data available is so small.

Digital marketing strategies to improve the countries reputation explained.

What it is possible to do however is to understand how these country who took a hard hit in their image could try or have already tried to repair their reputation as tourism hotspots.

From a digital marketing point of view you have the following situation :

  • A really bad PR that needs damage control.
  • Your tourists are customers very much into the digital world (China has more than 500 million netizens)

How do you solve this problem?

Well as you have read in this article several steps must be taken :

You must understand that the Chinese like to share their opinion and experiences about a wide range of topics. Here it will be about the turmoil that happened in those countries. You need first to have a damage control operation.

How does it work?

When you type the countries names on Baidu, the most favoured Chinese search engine you will have all the bad comments about those countries on the first pages.

Posting good comments in the relevant communities and social networks is a first step to push those back comments back away from the first few pages so that customers looking for a destinations or information about the country, like Thailand, Malaysia or Vietnam may not see those but only the good comments posted for damage control.

Managing discussions and promoting the tours via several means

  • Online PR : publishing articles about the beauty and attractiveness of the different countries in trouble
  • Using people of influence such as KOL like what the Thailand military did when inviting the Olympic Champion Guo Weiyang or the Chinese tourism officials. Their good opinion about the countries will be a key factor in restoring the reputation of the countries since they have a reputation, a credit that Chinese highly esteem.
  • Finally, paying attention to how the Internet Word Of Mouth propagates through those actions will allow to correct and intensify the actions as needed

Further readings

  • If you want to know more about the strategies to attract Chinese tourists go here
  • If you want to know more about the boom of Chinese tourists go here

 

Sources

5 Comments to "The Asian countries strategies to win back the Chinese tourists"

  1. Reply
    Josie
    August 31, 2014 at 4:24 am

    100% agree with your article.
    Every tour operator want to attract Chinese tourist.

    For your question for Website and WordPress
    I don’t know the exact percentage though, actually, It should be more appropiate to say that WordPress runs in 84% of FAILED touristic Websites worldwide.

    And there’s 2 main reasons to that: 1) Its free, and that’s why so many WordPress travel projects look so underdeveloped, or lack consistency in terms of business modeling or product definition/packaging… but since they have nothing to lose, they publish them anyway!! 2) I’d bet that only 1% of WP sites are truly unique in terms of graphix or HTML layout. When I jump into a WP site that looks specially cool, I love the game of picking a piece of html code from it, and googleit to find out how many other WP sites use the same template, to spot the most embarrasing adaptation of it all… from a dental surgeon in India, to an amateur shakespeare company in Alberta all through to a car dealer in Morocco… I’m sorry but most commonly, real life succesful travel Websites come as a result of an adecuate investment on planning, bussiness and data modelling, developing, testing, channeling … And for that, there’s many premium services and solutions aimed specifically to Travel and Accomodation Industry that outperform WP in all measurements

    In China can you use wordpress ?

  2. Reply
    Richen Tashi
    April 9, 2015 at 4:56 am

    Warm greetings from Discovery Bhutan Inc as travel agent & tour operator based in Bhutan, On behalf of our inbound team it is indeed my pleasure to contact you to introduce our
    company/organization. which is one of the most visited tourist destination in the world and it is considered to be #7 on the list of “World Heritage treasured” in western world Bhutan is known as place of paradise and country of happiness Kingdom.
    We provide different programs such as shelter, and nutrition that are funded by our tour and booking services.
    Our vision is to encourage more partners in Tourism & Travel industries from all countries around the globe, for we strongly believe that success is connected to action. With your prestige company as a potential business partner, our mission is to solidify your respective outbound company with our inbound services.

    We offer the following service to our valued customers.
    – Hiking and Tracking
    – Cultural tour.
    – Botanical
    – Birdwatching
    – River rafting
    – Farm house stay
    – Flora and fauna
    – Photography tour
    – Meditation and Teachings for Buddhist group by recognize master.
    – Experience driver for safety transportation.
    – Good and knowledgable guide With different language capacity.
    – Hotel booking with 4****
    – Marriage ceremony in Bhutanese traditional way.
    – Honeymoon tour package, and
    – Cycling etc………
    If you have groups or individuals coming for any kind of tour or any other destinations in Bhutan please send us a request and we will make you our best offer!
    Your clients will also gain in terms of cost-efficiency and the high quality of services that Discovery Bhutan Inc has to offer.
    It will be an honor and our great pleasure to liaise with your esteemed company. We hope that you well enjoy working with our team of adept and experience tourism professionals.
    It will be my greatest pleasure to receive your enquiries regarding our service and your tour and travel needs.
    I look forward to hear from you soon!

    Best regards,
    Richen Tashi

    • Reply
      admin
      April 14, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      Dear Richen

      Thanks for commenting,
      We sent you an e-mail about this. Looking forward to hearing more from you

  3. Reply
    Namaste
    April 9, 2015 at 5:56 am

    Namaste from Nepal.
    Hope you are doing well.
    I have a question with you.
    Do you have a group for Nepal? Would you like to expand the tour business widely?
    Please go through the website or email.
    We will response quickly about your concern.
    We are keep in touch with the official Chinese Embassy. If you find the any unnecessary hassle you claim from your side.
    I wish to get your reply.
    Thank you.
    With best regards,

    • Reply
      admin
      April 14, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      Dear Namaste,

      80% of the Chinese tourists go online to find information about the best destination. As mentioned in the article, crisis management must be done by the countries suffering from any catastrophes susceptible of scaring away Chinese tourists, regardless of the ties a destination and its agencies may have with Chinese officials like you suggest. Besides, partnership with Chinese tourism agencies is not something you want to do. They often tend to copy what others do. They would call that : technological shortcut… There is nothing easier to copy than a tourism service. Hope it helps you understand the situation!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *