More and more Chinese will be making their way to Thailand in coming years. To capture a piece of this huge market, creative new businesses will be essential.
TRAVEL TITBITS: Homing in on the mainland market by Karnjana Karnjanatawe
The Chinese will become the world's second largest outbound tourists and an average of 25 million Chinese will make their first trip abroad every year for the next 10 years, according to the report Taking Off: Travel and Tourism in China and Beyond (Read full report for free).
Conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the survey covered 4,250 Chinese domestic and outbound travellers in 15 cities last year. It found the total number of Chinese tourists travelling abroad will grow 17% a year over the next decade. They tend to be younger than travellers in the West, less experienced and more likely to take longer trips with large groups of friends, said BCG partner Vincent Lui, adding they would also be those who look for trusted brands and services specific to their needs.
According to the China National Tourism Administration, the total number of outbound Chinese travellers hit 57.39 million in 2010 and their spending ranked fourth-largest worldwide.
At present more than two-thirds of the outbound Chinese travel to Hong Kong and Macau, but by 2020 a quarter of all international travellers to Japan and South Korea will come from China. The Chinese will also one of the largest groups of travellers in Europe and will rank third among international arrivals in North America after travellers from United Kingdom and Japan
China will become the second largest tourism market, after the United States, and will surpass Japan in 2013.
Thanks to the strong economy, Chinese travellers spend more than half of their travel budget on shopping and among the top of their lists were luxury brand products which they would buy for themselves, family members and friends. Spending will increase to $230 billion (6.9 trillion baht) in 2020, triple the spending of Japanese tourists.
However, the Chinese travellers also had their specific needs, desperately seeking brands and services they can trust, according to the report.
Only a handful of companies understood or responded to their requirements. For example, few hotels offer special services for Chinese in their language, but premium-priced travel packages lack differentiation and interest. Online travel planning was unnecessarily complex for Chinese travellers, according to the report.
Fortunately, some companies such as Club Med have successfully tailored their offerings and gained brand loyalty in China by nurturing customer relationships. Ctrip, a leading travel website, offers hassle-free travel planning, and Shanghai Spring Tour is targeting travellers from smaller cities.
For Thailand, the Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association president Vichit Prakobkosol once suggested that those in the hospitality industry should consider offering specific services for Chinese tourists such as having hotel brochures or websites in Chinese. Other facilities such as directions and signs at international airports and popular tourism destinations should be printed in Chinese characters in addition to the present Thai and English
Simple things like giving information in their language would make them feel more comfortable when they travel in Thailand, he noted.
In addition, the government should also consider reviewing the policy of visa exemption for Chinese tourists which expired on March 31. So far, the letter submitted in December to the minister of Tourism and Sports asking to extend the policy of visa exemption for another year has not received a response.
The letter also asked for the government to further support a marketing campaign in China in order to increase direct flights from China to famous destinations such as Chiang Mai, Phuket and Samui as well as to promote Thai soap operas and TV series in China. The cultural promotion would convince more Chinese to travel to Thailand.
The country expects to lure 1.3 million visitors from the mainland in 2011.
(Source: TRAVEL TITBITS, Homing in on the mainland market, 18/04/2011, Karnjana Karnjanatawe, link)
homing in on Y - when a missile finds and locates some object or place automatically using the electronics inside of it
mainland - meaning "Mainland China" (not Taiwan)
outbound tourists - tourists taking vacations or trips to foreign countries (leaving their own country)
abroad - in a foreign country, outside of your own country
Boston Consulting Group (BCG) - a prestigious global management consulting firm with offices in 412 countries (See Wikipedia)
management consulting - "helping organizations improve their performance through the analysis of existing business problems and development of plans for improvement," often by helping a company use the "best practice" ways of running a business found in a industry (See Wikipedia)
survey - gathering information about what people think about different subjects (public opionion) by asking large numbers of people questions and counting their answers, and then using statistics, graphs, and tables to present results (See Wikipedia)
domestic - within the country ภายในประเทศ
decade - a period of ten years ทศวรรษ, ระยะเวลา 10 ปี
tend - to be likely to behave in a particular way or have a particular characteristic มักจะ
less experienced - have not done the activity a lot, so they do not know a lot about how to do the activity
brands - products with well-established names that people remember, that create a certain image and expectations about the product
services - บริการต่างๆ things produced in service industries, not a physical good that can be bought, a waitress and a cook in a restaurant provide a service, technically: a sequence of activities that does not result in ownership of the outcome (See Wikipedia on services and the goods and services continuum)
rank - the position or level in a group (example: the student was ranked second in his class)
quarter - one or more people who provide help, information or a particular reaction to something but who are not usually named
international - between countries ระหว่างประเทศ
surpass - go beyond
budget - an amount of money able to be spent on something งบประมาณ
travel budget - the amount of money available to be spent while traveling (on things ranging from air ticket to hotel to shopping)
luxury - the best and most expensive of something ที่หรูหรา
brand - a type of product made by a particular company ตรา, ยี่ห้อ
triple - three times the number or size of something จำนวนสามเท่า
desperately - extremely or very much อย่างเต็มที่ in a very worried way อย่างสิ้นหวัง
trust - believe that someone will do as they promised and not lie ความเชื่อมั่น
handful - a small number (could fit in your hand) จำนวนน้อยมาก
premium - special features or service that you pay extra for
lack - does not have ขาดแคลน
lack differentiation - do not make their product for different groups (one important "different" group being Chinese tourists)
travel packages - a collection of travel services bought together at reduced price (air ticket, hotel, transportation, tour, food, etc)
lack interest - they are not interested in (probably because they don't see yet how a profitable business could be built for this market)
complex - an area that has several parts
Club Med - the most famous company running all-inclusive vacation resorts around the world (See Wikipedia)
all-inclusive - includes everything (for one flat price)
all-inclusive resorts - a holiday resort that includes food, drinks and hotel room in one price, as well as activities such as sports, the idea originated with Club Med (See Wikipedia)
loyalty - support that you always give to someone or something because of your feelings of duty and love towards them ความจงรักภักดี
brand loyalty - when a purchase continues to purchase a certain brand of a product over a long period of time and because they are happy with it tells their friends about it (word of mouth) (See Wikipedia)
nuture - help a person (or here thing) grow from being child to being a full grown adult
nurturing customer relationships - serving and helping customers to the point where they are always using your service or product (and not that of other countries)
hassle - a difficult situation or thing you have to do (that is a problem and annoyance)
hassle-free - has no hassles or difficult problems (whole process or activity goes smoothly and easily)
loyalty - the quality of being firm and not changing in your friendship with or support for a person or an organization, or in your belief in your principles ความจงรักภักดี
targeting - directing something at a certain person or group or people (such as a product, advertising, criticism, etc) เล็งไปที่
hospitality industry - the tourism industry, the tourism sector (hotels, restaurants, night clubs, entertainment venues, etc)
brochure - a small booklet with information to tell potential customers about a product or a hotel, etc, and convince them to buy it แผ่นพับสำหรับโฆษณา, สมุดหรือหนังสือที่ให้ข้อมูลเกี่ยวกับสินค้า มีภาพประกอบ
facilities - the buildings and equipment for an activity (for example, athletics facilities) สถานที่และสิ่งอำนวยความสะดวก
policy - a plan of action to guide decisions and achieve outcomes (See Wikipedia)
exemption - not being required to do something, permission to not have to do something, such as making a payment, following a rule, etc. ข้อยกเว้น
visa exemption - when you don't have to have a visa to enter a country (but most other people have to have a special visa)
expired - ended, finished, no longer valid หมดอายุ สิ้นสุด
submitted - formally given to someone so that they can make a decision about it ยื่น ยื่นเอกสารเพื่อการพิจารณา
extend - to include something more ขยายออกไป add more time ยืดออกไป
support - help, by giving money, for example สนับสนุน
campaign - a planned group of especially political, business or military activities which are intended to achieve a particular aim การรณรงค์
direct flight - an airplane flight from one place to another place without landing and stopping at any other places along the way
soap opera - a drama, a long TV series about the imaginary lives of a group of people เรื่องน้ำเน่า, ละครทีวี, ละครที่แสดงทางโทรทัศน์มีหลายตอนจบเป็นต้น
TV series - a set of TV broadcasts on the same subject or using the same characters but in different situations หนังชุด
convince - saying things to make a person believe or do something
lure - to persuade someone to do something by making seem very attractive หลอกล่อ (See glossary)
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