China is the world’s largest tourism source market and Chinese nationals are the largest spenders in international tourism. In 2016, 610,100 Chinese tourists visited Canada and spent approximately $1.5 billion (an average of $2,438 per visitor). China is now Canada’s third-largest tourism source market (behind the United States and the United Kingdom).
The Chinese tourist market is growing and represents an opportunity for Canadian businesses. Below, you will find a few key tips on how you can attract Chinese tourists.
Consider Chinese payment options
There are several Chinese-based credit and debit cards, as well as mobile payment applications that are used to pay for goods and services in China. Mobile payment applications are digital wallets that allow users to make purchases by scanning their phones. They are very popular in China. When travelling within China, the majority of Chinese tourists use mobile payments to pay for hotels and tourist attractions. Having mobile payment options available can make Chinese tourists feel more comfortable and facilitate spending at your business.
As with most payment systems, there are several Chinese credit/debit card options and mobile payment applications to choose from. Some examples include UnionPay, Alipay, and WeChat Pay. There are also third parties in Canada that offer mobile application payment onboarding services.
Provide information in Mandarin
Although many Chinese tourists understand other languages, communicating in their standard language can make them feel more comfortable and welcome. Having a Chinese-language website, information, and signage at your business (e.g. brochures, welcome letters to Chinese guests) could also go a long way in attracting Chinese tourists.
Market your business on Chinese social media and online platforms
The Chinese population is very active on social media. Given that some popular Western-based online platforms are not available in China, Canadian businesses could consider establishing an online presence through Chinese-based platforms such as Weibo, WeChat, or Baidu (as compared to Facebook, Instagram, or Google) in order to reach their target audience. In 2016, 58% of Chinese travellers to Canada booked their trip through online travel agencies. Marketing your business on Chinese social media and online platforms can help you attract Chinese tourists. Given the level of Internet use by the Chinese population, having WiFi readily available at your location can help you attract Chinese tourists and even allow them to share their tourism experiences through social media.
Highlight safety and security
Chinese tourists value safety and security when travelling. Highlighting the safety and security of your business could make it stand out.
Diversify your offerings
The Chinese tourist market is diverse. The majority of millennials often prefer customized and individual experiences, while most baby boomers generally prefer group tours. At the same time, we know that Chinese tourists look for a diverse offering of products and services, including a wide variety of food and beverage choices. In order to attract Chinese tourists, it would be important to know your target market and ensure that you offer many choices for your guests.