Nothing is ever as it seems: despite Sino-Japanese tensions caused by a dispute over some uninhabited island, 29% of survey respondents from mainland China ranked Japan as their top travel destination in 2023. That is an 18% increase from previous years.
With so many new openings, events, and other occurrences in Japan right now, it’s hardly surprising that a big increase in foreign travellers followed the border’s reopening in October. With Japan listed as the top destination for Chinese New Year 2023, which falls on January 22, it appears that this trend will continue in the coming year.
The research was conducted by the travel service Kkday, which found that reservations for experiences in Japan were more common than those for other Asian nations.
Here are some historical explanations
First, in 2013, the yen fell about 22% against the US dollar while the yuan appreciated almost 3% against the dollar. This translated into Japan becoming a shopping heaven for rich Chinese tourists. Vivian Hong, president of Travelzoo’s China operation, Travelzoo Lv You Zu stated that while in Japan those shoppers would buy a wide range of products from Louis Vuitton bags to $1000 rice cookers.
Second, Japan has been a hot destination for tourists coming from Hong Kong and Taiwan because of the country being only a short flight distance and having a very particular culture. Meanwhile, mainlands Chinese have discovered themselves fond of the country’s scenery, food and atmosphere.
A shift in the current tourist trends: Hong Kong and Thailand are on the rise.
Travelzoo is present in the mass market around the globe except in China where it targets only wealthy tourists with income superior to $50000. There is a shift in the most favourite destination for that market segment, places like Australia, The Maldives are losing popularity while Hong Kong and Thailand see no significant increase in the number of mass-market tourists as reported by Travelzoo.
In 2023 destination to watch is definitely Taiwan. The island, which ranked 4th last year, has gone up to 3rd this year in this year’s popular destinations probably because people from big cities can travel alone rather than in groups making it easier to go back. Last, but not least, Taiwan and mainland China have a lot in common starting with the language, Mandarin which makes it easy for mainland citizens to find their way around. After the language comes the Chinese culture, well-preserved to the point where mainland Chinese prefer to bring their families to Taiwan for important celebrations like the Lunar New Year.
They were fifth last year; they are second this year in Travelzoo’s top destination list for Chinese travellers: the U.S. People going to the U.S. usually visit campuses and do some outlet shopping like Mr Xuan, bringing his 13-year-old son this summer to visit colleges, Disneyland and Universal Studios. His family has also planned to buy some clothing in outlet malls.
Chinese develop a knack for outbound tourism, but what of foreigners visiting China?
Jason Yap, CEO of Travelzoo (Asia Pacific) Inc., stated travel deals to China on its websites outside the country aren’t selling nearly as well as outbound travel tours on its Chinese website. Why is that?
The main problems are the rising yuan, causing China to stop being the cheap destination for the other Asian countries it once was; then comes the heavy pollution in China’s top-tier cities and outbreaks of food scandals.
So how to promote your travel destination to affluent Chinese?
- Develop a Chinese Website – build your digital home in China
- Improve visibility – make Chinese find you on Baidu
- Work with Chinese media – press releases are a must
- Use Chinese KOLs – let Chinese travel bloggers share messages with their audience
- Be social – build your communities on Red and Wechat
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