The Asian giant has become the most important source of tourists worldwide.
Culture, gastronomy and a good climate are the three main reasons why Spain is one of the most popular destinations to Chinese tourists.
Last year, 97 million Chinese tourists crossed the borders of their country and this year it’s expected increase the number up to 100 million tourists. This seems important but you have to bear in mind that 70% of the Chinese stay in mainland to travel and only 7% of the Chinese go abroad. This means that there is still a huge potential in the outbound Chinese tourism as the average income grow along the rise of the upper-middle class
From all these Chinese travelers, only 0.24% (230.000) go to Spain. However, in 2013 Spain the number of Chinese tourist increased by 33% compared to 2012.It seems that upward trend will continue and is expected to increase up to one million of Chinese tourists in 2020. Spain is appealing to Chinese tourists
The Chinese who travels to Spain are usually upper middle class and stay longer there than in any other European countries, with an average of over eleven days.
Let’s see together why Chinese tourists like to go to Spain:
Generally, Chinese tourist don’t go to Europe looking for sun and beaches. They value the Spanish history because they consider that Spain has a long and very traditional history.
Chinese travelers like castles, palaces and parks and they love visiting museums. They are very interested in seeing masterpieces of well-known painters like Picasso, Gaudi, Dali, Velázquez, Goya …
Barcelona is the most popular city regarding Spanish architecture and art. “La Sagrada Familia”, a large Roman Catholic church and Gaudi’s works are some of the most impressive cultural attractions in Spain.
The Chinese tourist is the biggest spender, especially in luxury brands. About 82 % of Chinese tourists consider shopping as one of the main activities when they are travelling and they usually buy international luxury brands because in Spain they are 30% cheaper than in China.
According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), Chinese visitors spent outside its borders over 100.000 million dollars last year. Cataluña and Madrid are their favorite destinations in Spain and they spent around 2040 dollars on average per capita.
The food is an important part of the Spanish culture, that is the reason why Chinese tourists are very curious about Spanish food. Paella is the most successful dish and also the most representative of Spanish cuisine. Usually, Chinese tourists love paella because is similar to their eating habits. In addition, they are very interested in Spanish wines due to their high quality.
However, there is a lot of potential that is still untapped to increase the appeal of Spain.
Chinese tourist have very specific needs :
- They want staff that can speak Mandarin Chinese
- Hotels they may want to have kettle for boiling hot water for tea
- Chinese are tech-savy, and like to share their travel experience in real time. Wifi is crucial here.
- Shops and hotels should have the ability to use Union Pay because most do not use international credit card
To increase the appeal of Spain to Chinese tourists you must show it as a premium destination.
Chinese tourists will go to forums and online communities such as Tuniu where there will look up information according to what kind of trip they want. There they will find reviews and advises about everything related to traveling.
Chinese tourist trust other reviews very much. Indeed they heavily rely on other people’s experience to see what destinations are the best, therefore you must make sure that they will only see good reviews about Spain and your tourism company services related to Spain by posting good reviews.
Q&A and Encyclopedia
Once they’ve had their first information about what country is the best to go to, ideally Spain, they will look up encyclopedia such as.
Baidu Baike will provide them with trustworthy information about the country, it gives them the same feeling as Wikipedia does in Western countries. You must have entries their to show how Spain is a great place to go to.
Baidu Zhidao: this is where Chinese outbound tourist will go and ask and answer question about a given destination. It is very similar to Yahoo! Q&A. There must be a presence to ensure that each question asked about Spain is answered in a very positive manner
70% of the bookings in Chinese outbound tourism is done on e-tourism platforms such as Ctrip, Elong. To be visible and attract Chinese tourists in Spain, your services and tours must be visible there
Further information about the destination
They will look up more precise information using keywords pertaining to what they learn from previous sources. Doing a SEO campaign will allow you to increase the destination awareness for Chinese tourists. They wil think : if a destination ranks well on Baidu it must be a good one.
After this, they will try to have a more precise image about where they want to go to through magazines, blogs, news but most importantly videos like on Youku, the Chinese Youtube. Having a presentation video highlighting the strengths of Spain will raise the destination image in their mind.
During the trip : Social media, photo sharing
Chinese tourists love to share their experience in real time through the use of social media, like Wechat, Weibo, or RenRen. Making sure to leave a good impression is a must here since their user experience spreads like wildfire, especially if they did not have a good experience. Again, with community management you can ensure that a very good impression about your company is all that tourist can see.
At the end of their trip they will show all their pictures to their friends and leave reviews and comments to let them know about the destination, what they lived and the places they liked most.
Chinese outbound tourist are hyper connected, a digital marketing strategy using those services is required in order to fully exploit Spain great potential as a premium tourist destination for Chinese outbound tourism.