Tourism is Cambodia’s second-largest revenue and China is their 3rd largest tourist arrival group. According to a Ministry of Tourism study, China was the main source of foreign tourists to Cambodia in the pre-pandemic era, and the country attracted 2.36 million Chinese tourists in 2019, producing around 1.8 billion US dollars in income.
Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon predicted that the Southeast Asian country will attract at least 1 million Chinese tourists in 2023.
2023 is also a celebration of the 65th anniversary of the two countries diplomatic ties, Cambodia is launching a “Cambodia-China Good Friend” campaign to welcome Chinese visitors.
In the past two years, Cambodian and Chinese governments have made efforts in setting up actions to help attract Chinese visitors to Cambodia. As a result, Direct flights between the two countries increased and are now available from Guangzhou, Nanning and Shanghai.
In the first six months of 2014, there have been 161,700 Chinese visitors to Angkor Wat temple. As to know a 17 per cent rise over the same period last year. But this rise is causing problems. Indeed the increasing number of Chinese coming to Cambodia’s main tourist attractions such as Angkor Wat and Siem Reap is causing a shortage of high-end accommodations.
The Minister of Tourism said that “In recent years, Chinese tourists have been looking for luxury and boutique hotels, which are also wanted by Japanese and Korean travellers”. However, in Siem Reap, there are only about 30 luxury hotels out of the 170 hotels in the area. Cambodian authorities should therefore consider building more high-end hotels in their main tourist attraction sites.
Most Chinese tourists who travel abroad don’t speak English. It is therefore really important for Cambodian tourism professionals to provide Chinese tourists services and information brochures in Chinese. Including Chinese dishes in the menus and TV programs will also be well-seen by their Chinese customers. It is also important to provide kettles in the rooms since a large part of the Chinese population is still used to drinking hot water.
When Chinese prepare for their trip abroad they usually look for information on the Internet and particularly on Chinese most popular booking websites such as Ctrip, Tuniu, Qunar and eLong. These websites are competing mostly on price criteria. It is therefore vital for Cambodian tourism players to have competitive prices to raise the interest of online Chinese tourists.
Expert Tips: What are the main channels to attract Chinese tourists?
1. Chinese social media – WeChat, Weibo, Red, Douyin
2. Chinese OTA’s – CTrip, Qunar, Quyer, Fliggy
3. Chinese search engines – Baidu, So
4. Chinese Travelling Influencers (KOLs)
5. Chinese travel blogs and forums
Chinese tourists like to spend their money abroad, especially on expensive goods that are most of the time cheaper abroad than in China, where high taxes are applied on luxurious products. They do not only shop for themselves but also for their families and friends to bring back nice souvenir gifts to them. While shopping, they like to have recommendations in Chinese. The shops should also accept payments via Chinese credit cards to be sure that the tourists are able to buy products from them.
Cambodian tourism players who want to attract more Chinese tourists should also take part in Chinese tourism trade fairs to promote their country. Participating more in such kinds of events will enable them to improve their relations with Chinese travel agencies, tour operators and media.
Last but not least is to be present on the Chinese Internet. There are indeed more than 618 million internet users in China, and 90% of them are also using social networks. Having a personal website in Chinese, hosted in China is a must. Subscribe accounts on Weibo, WeChat and QQ are also necessary. While looking for information online, Chinese online tourists like to see reviews, pictures and videos of other tourists who travelled there before. Chinese are also paying close attention to what opinion leaders in the tourism field will say about destinations or hotels. Using KOLs would therefore be a good decision to create a smart online strategy.
Cambodia still has to work on the key points mentioned above to attract more Chinese tourists to the country.
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