EH STAFF – Mumbai
The number of Chinese travellers making international trips was up by a strong 22 per cent in 2011, compared to 2010, and experts predict China is on track to overtake Germany and the US as the world’s largest outbound tourism market in the next few years, says Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM) from Hotels.com. Johan Svanstrom, managing director, Hotels.com Asia Pacific said, “The Chinese made a staggering 70 million international trips in 2011 and, while many of these were to Hong Kong and Macau, the number going further afield is growing significantly. Implementing strategies to cater specifically to this burgeoning source market is moving from a nice-to-have to a competitive necessity.”
According to the survey, availability of Wifi / internet service and Chinese food were most common requests from Chinese travellers while checking into hotels in India. They also requested for travel guidance in terms of city maps, sight-seeing tours, Chinese interpreters, etc. Further, Indian hoteliers also stated that tourists from China are now more proficient in English and more lavish in their spending as compared to 10 years ago. “Hoteliers should form concrete plans in two areas. Firstly, develop marketing strategies to reach the Chinese source market; concentrating on online as the Chinese internet population has now crossed the 500 million mark. Secondly, adapt hotel property services to cater to the expectation and needs of this growing audience.” concluded Svanstrom.
Surveying more than 5,000 hoteliers around the world, the report found the majority of respondents envisage the boom in outbound Chinese travel continuing. One in five (22 per cent) expect to see an increase of as much as 40 per cent. Chinese international travellers are known to spend significant amounts on shopping and there is a clear opportunity for the hotel industry to grab a share of that spend for the stay experience itself. The Chinese economy continues to grow at a fast rate, contributing to the build-up of a travelling middle class of several hundred million people. With the ongoing economic uncertainty in key markets, catering to Chinese travellers should be high on the list of priorities.