Welcome to this fortnight’s China Ready Now Round-Up.
Here are the 8 top stories I’ve been following.
- Last week marked the end of the successful China Australia Year of Tourism. Australia welcomed a record 1.33 million Chinese visitors, just shy of our largest arrivals market of New Zealand with 1.35 million, in the year ending September 2017. During the same period spending by Chinese tourists grew by 13 percent to a record $10.3 billion.
- South Australia has announced that Chinese megastar Huang Xiaoming is now an official ambassador for the state. A video featuring Mr Huang travelling around South Australia is now doing the rounds of Chinese social media. Huang’s pulling power could be a massive boon for South Australia, and actually the rest of Australian tourism as well. But who is he, you ask. Listen to this ABC Radio piece. It is worth noting that not everyone believes that Huang was the right choice for South Australia.
- WeChat seems to be moving more into the travel space, partnering with key global travel destinations such as Dubai, Britain and Sydney to offer City Experiences mini programs. Having used the Sydney mini program I can say that currently it is not a great user experience and does not offer much in the way of unique or different information. To try it out, search on WeChat for “体现悉尼“ (“experience Sydney”). Nonetheless, it is good to see, given that…
- 72% of Chinese people travelling overseas use travel websites, blogs and social media to plan their trip. Lauren Hallanan from the China Influencer Marketing Podcast has given a great overview in a recent blog post on how Chinese travellers use Weibo, WeChat articles and Mafengwo guides when making travel plans. If you’d like to find out more about using WeChat articles or Mafengwo travel guides, get in touch with me directly – we’ll be doing a lot more of this for clients in 2018.
- While we’re on Mafengwo, the platform recently announced it closed its Series D fundraising round of USD133 million ($AUD172 million). Mafengwo plans to use the newly acquired funds to continue to expand its platform as it aims to reshape the independent travel industry in China.
- For Chinese travellers that don’t want to do it all on themselves based of Mafengwo travel guides, a range of specialised online travel agents such as Beijing-based Uniqueway are cropping up. Uniqueway uses AI technology to design bespoke itineraries based on big data from about 180,000 customers.
- A new New Zealand venture, dubbed the Antipodean Explorer, is being billed as an “Orient Express-style” experience and the “world’s best moving hotel.” The luxury train is being backed by a Hong Kong investment firm and will carry 56 passengers between Auckland and Queenstown over 6 days, most of whom are expected to be luxury-oriented Chinese tourists.
- The first direct China Southern Airlines flight from Guangzhou to Cairns landed two weeks ago. The new route is expected to pump $90 million into Tropical North Queensland over the next three years. Currently more than 80% of international visitors to Cairns travel via other cities in Australia to get there, so this new direct route will see many more Chinese being able to fly straight into TNQ and start their holidays there. Good news all around!
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I hope you have enjoyed reading these Round-Ups in 2017 – thank you so much for your ongoing support. I wish you a festive holiday period and look forward to providing you with more information on Chinese tourism in 2018!