10 things Travel Agencies should know about Chinese Tourists

You are a travel Agency based outside of China and you want to attract Chinese travellers ? You have a lot of question , you are lost and you should read this article.

Shrugging Businessman --- Image by © Bob Jacobson/Corbis

Even though studies have shown China is experiencing a slow economic growth, the truth is the numbers of tourists for both outbound/ inbound are actually growing unlike other countries. 

What are the preferred travel destinations among Chinese tourists?

Understanding the favorite destinations can help agencies design attractive travel packages. Trends may include domestic highlights, nearby Asian countries, or popular long-haul destinations like Europe and North America.

The top ten preferred destinations often reflect a combination of cultural familiarity, ease of travel, and unique experiences. Here’s a list that captures some of the most popular travel spots among Chinese tourists:

  1. Thailand – Known for its tropical beaches, rich culture, and friendly atmosphere, Thailand remains a top destination due to its proximity and accessibility.
  2. Japan – The blend of traditional culture and modern technology, along with scenic beauty and shopping opportunities, makes Japan highly appealing.
  3. South Korea – Popular for its entertainment culture, fashion, and cuisine, South Korea attracts many young Chinese tourists.
  4. Australia – Offering diverse natural landscapes, wildlife experiences, and high-quality education tours, Australia is a favored long-haul destination.
  5. United States – The vastness of the U.S. provides varied tourist experiences, from cities like New York and Los Angeles to natural wonders like the Grand Canyon.
  6. Italy – Known for its historical sites, exquisite cuisine, and luxury fashion, Italy is a favorite among those interested in culture and history.
  7. France – The allure of Paris, coupled with famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and opportunities for luxury shopping, makes France a prime destination.
  8. Singapore – Appreciated for its cleanliness, order, and family-friendly attractions, Singapore is a popular short-haul destination.
  9. Maldives – For luxury travel and honeymoons, the Maldives offers stunning overwater bungalows and pristine beaches.
  10. Hong Kong – Although political issues have impacted travel recently, Hong Kong traditionally has been a major draw due to its shopping, entertainment, and proximity to mainland China.

What types of travel experiences are most appealing to Chinese tourists?

Whether it’s luxury travel, eco-tourism, adventure, cultural experiences, or family-oriented vacations, knowing the preferred travel styles can assist in product development.

How do Chinese tourists prefer to book their travel?

On their mobile of course

Agencies should know whether their clients prefer online booking through platforms like Ctrip and Fliggy, direct booking, or through traditional travel agencies.

This also includes understanding the influence of mobile apps and social media on their travel decisions.

Chinese tourists, particularly independent travelers, utilize a variety of platforms and resources to plan and book their travel. The decision-making and booking process is heavily influenced by digital technology, reflecting the widespread internet usage and preference for online services in China. Here’s how Chinese tourists typically prefer to book their travel:

  1. Search Engines like Baidu: Baidu is the most popular search engine in China and serves as the starting point for many when planning a trip. Tourists use Baidu to gather general information about destinations, visa requirements, and travel tips.
  2. Travel Forums like Mafengwo: Mafengwo and similar platforms are akin to TripAdvisor but tailored to the Chinese market. These forums are communities where travelers share detailed travelogues, reviews, and personalized advice. Independent travelers rely on these insights to plan their routes and activities.
  3. Social Media Platforms:
    • WeChat: More than just a messaging app, WeChat offers functionalities that include making reservations, payments, and accessing official accounts of travel agencies for promotions and booking opportunities.
    • Red (Xiaohongshu): This platform combines social media and e-commerce functionalities, allowing users to post travel stories and reviews, which influence other users’ travel plans.
    • Douyin (TikTok): Short videos on Douyin often go viral, inspiring viewers to visit new and trending locations shown in the clips. Travel-related content creators can have a significant influence on destination choices.
  4. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs): Websites and apps like Ctrip (Trip.com), Qunar, and Fliggy are heavily used for booking all travel-related services including flights, hotels, and complete travel packages. These platforms often offer competitive pricing and one-stop solutions for travelers.

What are the key factors that influence their travel decisions?

This might include elements like visa requirements, affordability, safety, cultural attractions, or the availability of Chinese-speaking services.

What are the expectations regarding accommodation and dining?

Agencies need to know if there is a preference for certain types of accommodation (luxury hotels, hostels, etc.) and what culinary expectations they have, such as the availability of Chinese cuisine or willingness to try local foods.

What is the role of shopping in their travel experience?

For many Chinese tourists, shopping is a vital part of the travel experience. Understanding what products they are interested in, whether luxury goods, local handicrafts, or others, can be crucial.

How important are digital payment platforms to Chinese tourists?

With the popularity of platforms like Alipay and WeChat Pay, agencies might need to facilitate or provide information on how these platforms can be used abroad for a seamless travel experience.

What are the best practices for partnering with Chinese travel agencies?

Understanding the dynamics of successful partnerships, such as knowledge of local market trends, preferences, and legal requirements, can be crucial. It’s also beneficial to know what Chinese agencies look for in international partners, including reliability, unique offerings, and strong communication channels (in Chinese) .

How can travel agencies tailor their marketing strategies to attract independent Chinese travelers?

Independent travelers often look for flexible, authentic, and personalized experiences. Agencies should consider how they can use digital marketing, social media platforms popular in China like WeChat, and influencer collaborations to reach this audience. Knowing what content resonates with independent travelers, such as detailed travel guides, safety tips, and recommendations for off-the-beaten-path experiences, can also be helpful.

What are effective communication strategies to maintain strong relationships with Chinese travel agencies and independent travelers?

Effective communication involves not only language but also cultural understanding. Agencies should consider whether they need Mandarin-speaking staff or translation services. It’s also essential to understand the cultural nuances that could impact business relationships, such as formalities in communication and negotiation practices.

Travel for Chinese people: it is “lifestyle” !

Tourism industry is now a trend of this world which can offer many different career opportunities while boosting a country’s economy. Particular in such a competitive tourism market like China, knowing the expectation of Chinese tourists will get your agency stand out from the crowd and catch the attention from them. In the following content, we listed the top 5 service of what Chinese tourists expect:  

Golden rule of China tourism 2024: Give them what they want

Optimize your customer Service

Before your travel agencies provide any type tourism service to Chinese people, you need to understand the importance of onsite content in the whole business procedure. It is the showcase of your service and the very first thing you offer to make your service look appealing and trustworthy. Chinese tourists love browsing on fast and appealing site with high quality photos and videos.

More importantly, your website should be able to operate on mobile phones because a recent research showed that Chinese people prefer using mobile phones for internet surfing to desktops. According to the CTrip.com Chief Operating Officer Jane Sun via CNN, “More than 80% of our hotel bookings on mobile.” As a marketer, you need to know where to find your customers and how to serve them well. In China, mobile version onsite service is a must thing to do.  

Chinese speaker to reply to question 



Unlike the situation, Chinese used to travel in groups, in the past, the numbers of Chinese independent travelers is rising up rapidly because of the growth of the middle class. Many of the people in this middle class level have higher education which brings them good advantages in traveling regarding to language for communication or technology for information.

Invest in your Digital Communication to generate leads

However, the partial middle class case can not represent all of the Chinese tourists. According to many survey conducted by airline and travel companies, people still expect some Chinese services such as Chinese-language menu, brochure, and even TV programs. Languages from home has the amazing power to make people feel welcome, feel safe, and feel comforted as they are hundreds to thousands of miles away from their comfort zone.

Social Communication WeChat  , Red, Douyin

Independent Chinese travelers tend to be highly digital-savvy and often use a combination of these resources to ensure they get the best experience and value out of their travel plans. They value peer reviews and are influenced by social media trends, making platforms like WeChat, Red, and Douyin crucial in the planning process.

In China, promoting your business only through search engines will never be enough and soon you will be eliminated There are more than 80 % of the 720 million internet users in China have at least one to multiple accounts on social medias and people spend 25 hours a week on average using them mainly through mobiles.

chinese mobile

The role of social medias to Chinese people now a days is much more than a social platform but a place to seek counsels, a channel to catch up updated news around the world, and even a tool to do customer services. Having an official accounts on Chinese popular website like WeChat (Instant messaging app) 

  (A travel information on Weibo)


(A travel agency on WeChat)


Harnessing Douyin to Attract Chinese Tourists: Top 3 Strategies

  1. Leverage Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with popular Douyin influencers to create engaging content that highlights your destination’s unique attractions. Influencers can create viral challenges, live streams, and short engaging videos that showcase authentic experiences, driving interest and bookings.
  2. Utilize Interactive Content: Engage viewers by creating interactive videos that involve viewer participation, such as quizzes about the destination or polls on what to explore next. This engagement keeps viewers interested and more likely to consider visiting.
  3. Showcase Real-Time Events and Festivals: Capture and share vibrant footage of local events, festivals, and other real-time activities. This creates a sense of urgency and FOMO (fear of missing out), encouraging viewers to visit and experience these events themselves.

Douyin Marketing, The Best Way to Promote Destination Travel

Douyin, the Chinese counterpart of TikTok, has carved out a prominent spot in the digital realm. With more than 750 million monthly active users,

Winning Over Chinese Tourists on Red (Xiaohongshu): 3 Effective Tips

  1. Create Authentic Story-Driven Content: Share detailed travel stories and itineraries created by previous visitors that highlight their personal experiences and recommendations. Authentic, personal content resonates well on Red, making it a perfect platform for storytelling.
  2. Highlight User Reviews and UGC (User Generated Content): Encourage satisfied tourists to post their travel stories and photos on Red. Positive reviews and beautiful imagery from genuine tourists build trust and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.
  3. Focus on Niche Experiences: Red users often seek unique and lesser-known experiences. Highlight niche tours, hidden gems, and local favorites that aren’t mainstream. These exclusive insights into lesser-known aspects of a destination can drive curiosity and bookings.

Implementing these strategies on Douyin and Red can significantly increase your visibility and attractiveness to Chinese tourists, helping you to stand out

Practical Payment Method

Placing orders, making deals, and transferring money in China only require a few finger tapping on their mobile devices. Chinese are so used to such a convenient payment method in their daily lives, so it is time to examine your agency’s payment method to see if it is user-friendly to Chinese customers..

If you agency have the access to any banks in China, you may simply open online payment accounts through Aplipay or WeChat pay, the top 2 third party payment companies in China. Otherwise, you may consider to include Union pay, the bank car accounts for over 90 % market share in China, in your payment method.


With this payment adoption targeting Chinese customers, you will be more prepare as you welcome any Chinese tourists to visit your travel agency online. Just make sure you display the symbols of the three payment methods on your websites after you make the changes for Chinese market.

Extra-mile Customer Services

The first rule to serve Chinese tourists is to try your best to give them what they want. For travel agencies, you need to learn lessons of how to deal with Chinese tourists because this could be very helpful as the situation happens.

As Chinese tourists travel abroad, they tend to have high expectation on their tour quality and the service they receive. Many traveling business around the world are preparing themselves to welcome the Chinese customers through hiring Mandarin speakers in their stores, providing Chinese language lessons, and even exchange program to China. Same thing to travel agencies around the world, you may start thinking of a way to best serve your Chinese customers and always be ready to walk the extra mile with them. Believe me, you will see the reward in the future.

Do you need help?


Contact us and we will advise you 🙂

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