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Chinese Tourists’ Top Destinations 2023 & Best Marketing Strategies

Chinese tourists are back in the global tourism economy. Here the top loved countries by Chinese tourists & the Best Solutions to reach them

The 2023 Lunar New Year’s holiday became the first major holiday in three years without pandemic restrictions in China, allowing Chinese citizens to resume domestic and international travel.

In 2019, tourists from China embarked on more than 160 million trips, contributing more than 250 billion USD to the global economy. As Chinese tourists begin to venture abroad once again in 2023, it’s crucial to understand the emerging tourism trends and identify strategies that businesses in the tourism industry can leverage to benefit from the return of Chinese international tourism.

In 2023, several destinations have emerged as top favorites among Chinese travelers, and Thailand, Japan and Australia seem to be the top favorite countries Chinese are going to visit this year.

Chinese Tourism Trends in 2023

With China reopening its borders to international travel, a surge in global tourism can be expected among Chinese tourists. Here are the top countries Chinese are planning to visit in 2023:

Thailand. Where Beauty Meets Tranquility

Thailand has long been a beloved destination for Chinese tourists, and its popularity continues to soar in 2023. With its pristine beaches, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage, Thailand offers a diverse range of experiences.

Chinese-tourists-in-thailand-2023
Chinese-tourists-in-thailand-2023

According to Bangkok Post, within the Thai country, Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Pattaya top the list of searches by Chinese outbound travelers.

Why do many Chinese tourists go to Thailand in 2023?

There are four main reasons why Thailand will remain a top destination for Chinese tourists in 2023:

Proximity and Accessibility: Thailand is geographically close to China, making it easily accessible for Chinese travelers. With numerous direct flights and visa-friendly policies, it is a convenient choice for those seeking a relatively short and hassle-free journey.

Cultural Similarities and Familiarity: Thailand and China share certain cultural similarities, making it easier for Chinese tourists to navigate and appreciate the local customs and traditions.

Natural Beauty and Beaches: Thailand boasts stunning natural landscapes, including pristine beaches, lush tropical forests, and picturesque islands.

Affordable Luxury and Shopping Opportunities: Thailand provides excellent value for money, offering a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious resorts. Chinese tourists appreciate the affordability and quality of Thailand’s hospitality industry. Moreover, Thailand is renowned as a shopping paradise, offering an abundance of markets, malls, and boutiques where visitors can find everything from traditional handicrafts to modern fashion and electronics.

Australia. The Land of Wonders

Australia’s vast landscapes, unique wildlife, and cosmopolitan cities have been increasingly captivating Chinese tourists. In 2023, travelers from China are flocking to the Land Down Under to witness the majestic beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, explore the rugged Outback, and experience the vibrant multicultural scenes of Sydney and Melbourne.

Why do many Chinese tourists go to Australia in 2023?

There are several reasons why Australia remains a popular destination for Chinese tourists in 2023:

Natural Wonders: Australia is known for its breathtaking natural landscapes and unique wildlife. Chinese tourists are drawn to the country’s iconic attractions such as the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the world’s largest coral reef system.

Multicultural Cities: Australia’s cosmopolitan cities offer a vibrant blend of cultures, making it an attractive destination for Chinese tourists. Cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane provide a rich array of entertainment, shopping, dining, and cultural experiences.

Safe and Welcoming Environment: Australia is renowned for its safety and welcoming nature, providing a sense of security for Chinese tourists.

Education and Study Opportunities: Australia’s world-class education system attracts many Chinese students, and their families often take the opportunity to visit and explore the country while supporting their loved ones.

Japan. The Allure of Japan: A Harmonious Blend of Tradition and Modernity

Japan’s harmonious blend of ancient traditions and modern marvels continues to enthrall Chinese tourists. In 2023, the Land of the Rising Sun remains a top choice for travelers seeking a perfect balance between history and innovation.

Why do many Chinese tourists go to Japan in 2023?

There are several reasons why Japan remains a popular destination for Chinese tourists in 2023:

In 2023, Japan continues to be a highly sought-after destination for Chinese tourists. Several factors contribute to the popularity of Japan among Chinese travelers:

Cultural Appeal: Japan’s rich cultural heritage, traditional customs, and unique experiences have always captivated Chinese tourists. From visiting ancient temples and shrines to exploring historical sites like Kyoto and Nara, Chinese tourists are drawn to Japan’s deep-rooted traditions and the opportunity to immerse themselves in a different cultural environment.

Pop Culture Influence: Japan’s pop culture, including anime, manga, and J-pop music, has had a significant impact on Chinese youth.

Scenic Beauty: Japan boasts stunning natural landscapes that appeal to Chinese travelers seeking picturesque views and outdoor adventures.

Easy Accessibility: Japan’s proximity to China and the availability of convenient flight connections make it a popular choice for Chinese tourists.

Shopping and Luxury Goods: Japan is renowned for its shopping experiences, from bustling marketplaces to luxury brand boutiques. Chinese tourists often visit Japan to purchase high-quality electronics, fashion items, cosmetics, and souvenirs.

In Europe, Italy is one of the main countries Chinese tourists are expected to come in 2023.

Italy has always held a special place in the hearts of Chinese tourists, and 2023 is no exception. The country’s rich history, breathtaking architecture, and world-renowned cuisine make it a top destination for Chinese travelers seeking a cultural extravaganza. Rome, with its iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum and Vatican City, offers a glimpse into the grandeur of the ancient world.

Why do many Chinese tourists go to Italy in 2023?

There are several reasons why Italy remains a popular European destination for Chinese tourists in 2023:

Rich Cultural Heritage: Italy is known for its unparalleled cultural heritage, with a history that spans thousands of years. Chinese tourists are attracted to the country’s magnificent architecture, iconic landmarks, and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Picturesque Landscapes: Italy’s diverse landscapes provide a captivating backdrop for travelers. From the enchanting canals of Venice to the stunning Amalfi Coast, and from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the dramatic cliffs of the Cinque Terre, Italy offers a visual feast for nature lovers.

Luxury Shopping and Fashion: Italy is renowned for its fashion industry, luxury brands, and shopping opportunities. Tourists from China are attracted to the fashion districts of Milan, Rome, and Florence, where they can find the latest designs from renowned Italian fashion houses.

Romantic and Historical Ambiance: Italy’s reputation as a romantic destination adds to its appeal for Chinese tourists. The romantic cities of Venice, Verona (the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet), and the scenic landscapes of the Italian countryside create a dreamlike atmosphere for couples.

Marketing to attract Chinese tourists in 2023

In China, during the last decade, there has been a surge in tourism, rapid digital ecosystem growth, increased spending power among millennials, and the emergence of tech-savvy Gen Z travelers.

Here are four key points to keep in mind to successfully target the growing number of Chinese tourists

1. Engage Chinese tourists on Chinese social media platforms

For global tourism businesses aiming to attract tourists from China, understanding how to execute digital marketing campaigns on Chinese social media sites is increasingly crucial. It’s important to recognize the distinctions between China’s top social media platforms.

Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) and WeChat are the most recommended platforms to reach Chinese tourist

In 2023, Xiaohongshu emerged as the leading social media platform for travel-related information. Xiaohongshu’s rapid rise during the pandemic has made it the go-to platform for travel-related content.

WeChat, China’s most widely used app, is another essential platform for conducting Chinese tourism marketing operations. Serving as a super-app, WeChat offers a comprehensive ecosystem encompassing social media, e-commerce, video content, blog posts, and various services. Its integrated e-wallet system, WeChat Pay, enables users to book international flights and hotels without leaving the app, making it a viable option for conducting full-scale tourism marketing campaigns.

According to Dragon Trail’s 2022 consumer sentiment report, almost of 70% of Chinese travelers rely on social media channels as their primary source of travel information. In contrast, tour guides, embassy official channels, and foreign social media platforms contribute only 14%, 18%, and 22%, respectively.

2. OTA (Online Travel Agency) Platforms in China for Booking Trips and Hotels

Booking flights and accommodations serve as crucial factors in attracting tourists from China. Since most international online travel agencies (OTAs) are inaccessible to Chinese travelers, it’s vital to understand the OTA ecosystem in China.

Here are the three leading Chinese platforms for booking trips and hotels:

Trip.com Group (携程旅行网)

Formerly known as C-Trip, Trip.com Group has become the largest Chinese OTA and one of the largest worldwide following its acquisition of Singapore-based Trip.com in 2017. With a more international focus and a demographic consisting of older individuals with higher incomes, Trip.com offers extensive overseas content and functionality. It provides features such as currency exchange services and overseas travel guides, distinguishing it from its competitors.

Mafengwo (马蜂窝)

Before the emergence of Xiaohongshu, Mafengwo served as China’s primary social media platform for user-generated tourism content. However, Mafengwo expanded its services to include hotel and flight bookings. Although it may no longer be the top social media platform for tourism, Mafengwo remains an important OTA for tourists from China.

Fliggy (Feizhu 飞猪)

Fliggy, owned by Alibaba and previously known as Alitrip, originated from Taobao’s travel booking service in 2014. As Trip.com’s main competitor in China, Fliggy primarily targets millennial travelers. It integrates well with Alibaba’s ecosystem, accepting payments through Huabei and connecting to Alibaba’s Sesame Credit system.

3. Streamline cross-border payments for Chinese tourists

While Chinese tourists have largely moved past the inconvenience of exchanging currency during travel in the last three years, cross-border e-payment technology has advanced significantly.

Given the prevalence of mobile payments and the limited use of credit cards in China, businesses catering to Chinese tourists must ensure they can accept payments beyond cash and credit. By accommodating at least one of the primary Chinese payment options—Alipay, WeChat Pay, or UnionPay—brick-and-mortar establishments can provide a familiar experience that aligns with Chinese tourists’ spending habits and facilitates seamless transactions.

4. Understand Chinese tourists’ preferences

As Chinese millennials amass wealth and Gen Z travelers come of age, outbound Chinese tourists’ demographics and travel attitudes are evolving. Familiarizing yourself with these new trends is essential for effective Chinese tourism marketing.

Due to their heavy reliance on social media instead of tour guides, millennial and Gen Z Chinese tourists tend to be more independent travelers. They prioritize local experiences over packaged sightseeing tours in large groups, which primarily appeal to older generations and rural tourists. According to Dragon Trail’s 2022 Chinese consumer sentiment report, the top two goals for tourists from China are trying local foods and experiencing local life (60.8% and 56.7% respectively).

The solution to market Chinese tourists in 2023

In conclusion, as Chinese tourism continues to evolve in 2023, businesses seeking to tap into this thriving market must adapt their marketing strategies accordingly. Embracing digital platforms such as Chinese social media, understanding the preferences of tourists from China, and facilitating seamless transactions through cross-border payment options are essential steps toward capturing the attention of this lucrative audience.

At Long Advisory, we specialize in digital marketing for the Chinese market, providing comprehensive solutions tailored to your business needs. With our expertise in leveraging the main social media in China, optimizing online presence, and understanding the shifting trends among Chinese tourists, we can help your brand connect with this influential demographic. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to reach millions of tourists from China seeking unique experiences and adventures.

Contact Long Advisory today to unlock the full potential of the Chinese tourism market and embark on a successful journey towards expanding your business in this dynamic landscape. Let us be your trusted partner in crafting effective marketing strategies that resonate with Chinese tourists and drive growth for your brand.

Long Advisory digital marketing agency in China

Long Advisory supports American and European companies in China through digital marketing. In fact, our experience has led us to believe that today, the best and most convenient approach to making your brand well-known in China is through a digital approach. Furthermore, thanks to our know-how, we know how to make your brand known to potential Chinese consumers. With the effective coordination of Long Advisory, your company will see a new rise in the largest market in the world: China.

Long Advisory is a digital marketing agency specializing in developing digital marketing solutions tailored for the Chinese market. 

Interested in expanding your brand in China? Contact us for more info and details at info@longadvisory.eu

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