Strategies for Attracting Chinese Tourists in 2023: Insights from Tourism Authorities

After the Chinese government reopened the borders in early 2023, Outbound tourists from mainland China reached 40.37 million in the first half of 2023. China in August announced a third round of resumption of outbound group tour services to 78 countries and regions, including Australia, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, India and most European countries, expanding the scope from 60 to 138 countries and regions.

From China Tourism Academy (2023), the Chinese outbound tourists are mainly from Tier 1 cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Suzhou, Chongqing and Nanjing), which constitute 81.9%.

The substantial influx of Chinese tourists significantly contributes to the tourism industry of many countries. Consequently, tourism authorities worldwide have undertaken numerous campaigns to inspire and attract Chinese tourists to their destinations.

Tourism Australia

Tourism Australia has dedicated extensive efforts to attract Chinese tourists through a range of outdoor activities and online campaigns. In 2023, the organisation launched the ‘Come and Say G’Day’ campaign in China, featuring their new tourism ambassador, Ruby.

Tourism Australia strategically selected Chengdu, Sichuan, as its inaugural destination for promoting tourism. Embracing the digital trends in China, the organisation executed a 3D campaign at TaiKooli in the city centre of Chengdu, complemented by an outdoor campaign.
Utilising Chinese social media platforms, Tourism Australia implemented a series of campaigns to showcase the distinctive landscapes to Chinese tourists while actively fostering strong connections with users on these social channels.

Remarkably, Tourism Australia seamlessly integrated Chinese culture into its campaigns, employing an approach tailored to resonate with the Chinese audience. The ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’ campaign skillfully incorporated Chinese language and cultural nuances to accentuate the unique experiences awaiting visitors in Australia.

Saudi Tourism Authority

Saudi Arabia has introduced e-visas for Chinese visitors, and to enhance the appeal of Saudi Arabia to Chinese tourists, STA launched a series of campaigns in China.

Notably, STA collaborated with the popular Chinese TV show ‘Divas Hit the Road,’ where seven Chinese celebrities, including Dior ambassador Dilraba Dilmurat and Tory Burch ambassador Qin Lan, explored Saudi Arabia, leveraging their significant fan base in China. The initial episodes featured an Arabian teacher guiding the celebrities in learning Arabic and introduced them to local cuisine. The TV show effectively showcased Saudi Arabian culture, accumulating millions of views.

Air France

Beyond tourism authorities, even airlines are vying for the attention of Chinese tourists. Air France, for instance, recently launched a paid campaign on Douyin (Chinese TikTok). The video garnered significant views and likes on the platform, with the majority of comments expressing positivity.

The Chinese digital landscape stands apart from those of other countries, with each social channel exhibiting distinct features and focuses.

Take, for instance, Little Red Book, a platform with 70% of its users falling into the post-90s age group. It categorises its users into six tags: Gen Z, cutting-edge generation, fashionable generation, posh moms, singles, and cool-hunters. Little Red Book centres around a unique fusion of reliable user-generated content, word-of-mouth advertising, and online community-building.

Similarly, Douyin, akin to TikTok, dominates the younger generation in China as a short video platform. Quality content is paramount for gaining traction on this platform. However, brands can also effectively enhance awareness, build reputation, and engage the audience through strategic partnerships with influencers, live-streaming sales, and sponsored pop-up ads.

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