E-tourism’s success factors in China
Before COVID Online tourism was booming in China. Revenue from online tourism reached 2.85 trillion yuan, accounting for 7.7% of total spending. As several countries maintained severe Covid-19 control regimes hurting inbound travel for a large portion of last year, establishing a weak foundation of comparison, FitchRatings predicts a robust rebound for tourism in APAC during 2023. However, China’s relaxation of Covid-19-related travel restrictions has happened more quickly than we had anticipated, which will increase the likelihood that our predictions may come true. Prior to the epidemic, China was one of the top source markets for international travel, with USD254.6 billion in international travel spending in 2019.
80% of Chinese tourists use the Internet before traveling abroad, and this number is not ready to fall in, especially with the always-increasing number of Internet users who are also researching from tablets and mobile.
The community at the heart of e-tourism in China
The Chinese internet is overcrowded with information for prospective Chinese travelers. Over 90% of Chinese Internet users have at least one account on social networks. It is therefore natural that the Chinese will turn to other Internet users to search for information. They may for example learn about travel forums in China Tuniu and Baidu Tieba. In fact, about 80% of Chinese travelers will become active after their journey, by posting photos or videos on social networks, or by writing a blog. The feedbacks from trips are numerous, especially on the microblogging platform Weibo.
To succeed in Chinese e-tourism, any western travel business has to make the following steps:
- Adopt website to Chinese web
- Register business on at least one Chinese OTA
- Build e-reputation in China
- Work with domestic Chinese travel agents
It is important for an e-tourism player to be present on the Chinese Internet, and not just through its website. Official accounts on popular Chinese social networks like Weibo and WeChat are essential. Indeed Chinese Internet users are very open to conversations on microblogging platforms. They pay attention to publications on social networks based on their interests and follow the news from the leaders in their chosen field. This is particularly interesting for the players of e-tourism because approaching the opinion leaders in the tourism sector will help them to promote a destination, a hotel, or an agency.
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