Malta : how to reach Chinese tourists?

Maltese economy needs Chinese tourists: an expectation coming from the main actors of tourism, which was well-taken into account from the Maltese government. In recent years, Malta has made a concrete commitment to welcoming Chinese tourists on its territory.

How does the Maltese government’s commitment to Chinese tourism express ?

Since 2016, the Maltese government has signed an agreement with the Bank of China, the main bank of the country. What does this agreement allow? On one hand, holders of a Premium Member Card at the Bank of China receive free admission to historical sites and Maltese museums classified by the Heritage Malta National Agency. On the second hand, the Bank of China actively promotes the Maltese Islands to its holders of the Premium card. How many prospects are involved? Not less than fifteen million, according to the statistics of the bank itself, which communicates mainly on social networks with its customers.

Malta is seeking to develop new markets sources of tourists. To this end, it adopts a new strategy targeting the two fastest-growing tourism markets: China and India, whose standard of living has been changing for two decades and – given the size of their population – whose touristic potential is huge. The ultimate goal of this strategy is to let tourism grow up, spending over the long term in order to support the Maltese economy. Chinese tourists are particularly famous for their shopping culture, with the social obligation to bring back gifts to loved ones after a trip abroad.

Like any European tourist destination, tourism on Malta has suffered from the depreciation of the British pound: British tourists have become scarce, a market that counted in the balance.

The ambitions of the Maltese government

These two considerations highlighted – the very satisfying consumption power of Chinese tourists and the annual amount of potential tourist arrivals – the Maltese government was aiming for the arrival of 10,000 Chinese tourists over two years, thus reaching the target of 10,000 Chinese visitors between 2016 and 2018. Also starting from the signing of this agreement in 2016, the Maltese government plans to reach 50,000 Chinese tourists by 2020, which leaves it two more years to reach this ambitious goal.

Why Chinese tourists are an excellent market

Certainly, the Chinese tourists will privilege a tourism close to their country, with Thailand and Japan in first and second position of arrivals of Chinese travelers in the ranking for 2017. Comes in third position South Korea and Vietnam in fourth. This is also due to the fact that Thailand has greatly simplified the entry procedures for Chinese tourists, who can stay for 15 days without a visa in Thailand.

Japan has translated many tourist attractions into English or Chinese and has introduced the AliPay mobile payment method, commonly used in China. Asian countries receiving Chinese tourists have generally translated useful information and plans of cities or tourist sites in Mandarin. Chinese restaurants are everywhere!

These efforts paid off, as Chinese tourists were almost nine million in Thailand and as many as seven million in Japan in 2017. Conclusion? Adapting to the needs and expectations of the Chinese market is not a waste of time!

Malta, destination popular with Chinese people

Chinese tourists particularly appreciate the architecture of Western countries: Malta is blessed with many famous churches and cathedrals or sites of history and Unesco World Heritage.

But Malta can also present itself as a seaside destination with its favorable climate and idyllic beaches – not to mention the blue lagoon of Comino – it is therefore an alternative to Greece, another seaside destination of the West that particularly appeal to Chinese customers easy. As young Chinese people wake up to extreme sports and sports tourism, Malta is a potential option for scuba diving.

Another plus and not the least, Malta is full of breathtaking natural sites that deserve to be known, such as its natural arch Wied il-Mielah.

How to attract more Chinese tourists to Malta?

To attract more Chinese tourists to its destination, it’s pretty easy.
It is necessary to facilitate the arrival of the tourists by publishing all the useful information in their native language and in English as a supplement.

The Chinese tourist does not like to worry about how to pay for purchases or waste time trading currency. He wants to know where the nearest public toilets are, where he can eat the food he is used to. He wants to get a clear idea of ​​what he will discover, how to get there and for what rate. Before leaving, he wants all the hassle of transport and accommodation to be booked and clarified. No bad surprise on arrival!

Where will he get all his info and book his trip? Simply on his Smartphone. The Chinese surfer is hyper connected knows all travel applications to find the best deals and information needed. It will be Flying Pig and Ctrip for the plane, Elong, Qunar or even Booking for accommodation, Where Is The Public Toilets for public toilets, Youdao Fanyi for on-site translation with locals, Meituan for restaurants, Didi for taxis, without forgetting to share his experience on social networks like Wechat.

To reach Chinese customers, it seems obvious to ensure a presence on the Chinese social networks of the moment. Our Marketing to China agency is developing a four-step strategy to promote a tourist destination:

Our solutions in 4 steps:

1 – Create an official website in Mandarin

It is essential to have an official Mandarin website to become known to the Chinese public. Indeed, many Chinese tourists do not (yet!) speak English, so you have to communicate in their language.

In addition, the first search engine in China is not Google. Chinese netizens use their national search engine Baidu for 82% of their researches. However, Baidu relegates back untranslated websites. To ensure optimal SEO on Baidu, translating your website into Mandarin remain the key.

2 – Facilitating payment terms

With its billion active user accounts, Wechat is the first Chinese social network of the moment. The mobile application has grown to a fierce competition with Alipay for mobile payment facilities. Both applications are now commonly used by Chinese consumers. If you want to attract Chinese tourists to your destination, there is no doubt that facilitating the means of payment by setting up these two systems will earn you points.

The utility of Wechat goes even further: you can create an official account to allow subscribed travelers to follow your offers, get information or pay directly through your account.

3 – Being active on Chinese social networks

Chinese tourists are looking for their upstream travel information on travelers’ forums like Qyer, Mafengwo or Tuniu, equivalent platforms in the West at LeRoutard or TripAdvisor. They will read carefully the comments of the other Internet users to fix their choice. Being present on these platforms allows you to turn the scales and bring the discussions to your favor, indirectly advertising your activities.

4 – Ensure your e-reputation

Your reputation on Chinese social networks is essential to reassure your customers. The first reflex of the Chinese netizens will be to look for information about your account, that is why you must look after your image on the net and master the disclosure of the negative opinions, in particular by responding cordially and professionally to the degrading comments on your activity.

Our agency can help you put these solutions in place

Proud of its eight years of experience in digital marketing on the Chinese market, our Marketing China agency offers the latest innovative digital marketing solutions and helps you achieve your goal in China.

Contact us now if your project is related to the activities of our agency. It’s a pleasure for us to help foreign entrepreneurs!

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  1. Dear Madam/Sir,

    I would like to introduce myself as a senior lecturer at the Institute of Tourism Studies in Malta – Europe. I am currently reading for a Master Degree in Hospitality Management with the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences of Finland, for which my selected area of research and thesis topic is that of the readiness for Chinese visitors and the setting up and branding of the Malta International Airport as Chinese Skilled.

    To this aim I would very much like to communicate with your good selves as to any input you may be willing to provide. This would be in line with my interviews with various local stakeholders from both the Airport and local government.

    In eager anticipation of your reply,
    Kind REgards

  2. Hello

    This post just convinced me to start advertising towards the Chinese market
    creating the translated website its gonna be a challenge but its sure worth it.

    1. Hi Tyler,

      It can be worth it to hire an agency for this purpose,
      Unfortunately, google translation is not enough to localize your content properly

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