China Proving A Tough Travel Market As It Matures

Gone are the days when Chinese travellers are viewed as a sensitive bunch that respond to negative news coverage of a destination with tour cancellations, making them a more resilient customer than Europeans or Japanese, sellers at the recent ITB China told TTG Asia.
“They read the news, they discuss the news and then they forget about the news,” commented Khaled El Kholy, CEO of Solar Empire Egypt. He added that Chinese travellers are relatively “mature” and “practical”, and whose opinions are not easily swayed by the media.
Khaled attributes China’s vast size as a contributing factor, which enables Chinese travellers to understand that problems in an area does not mean that whole country is affected.

Following the onset of Arab Spring in early 2011, which crippled the Egyptian tourism sector, the Chinese market was one of the first to make a comeback to the country, said Khaled.

Since 2016, the Chinese market recovery has picked up faster and is expected to surpass its previous peak in 2010 this year, he noted.
The Egyptian company is seeing such robust demand from China that it now has nine charter flights from eight Chinese cities each week, and will increase the number to 16 weekly flights come July. By end-2016, it is expecting a 300 per cent increase in Chinese business volume.
“Egypt’s tourism will shut down if Chinese tourists stop coming to Egypt now, as the Europeans are not back yet,” Khaled remarked.
It’s also a similar story in Turkey, which saw a sharp plunge in tourism numbers following a series of terror attacks in 2015, but is now propped up by the Chinese market even as Europe arrivals continue to nosedive.

“The Chinese market is not at all fragile,” said Flex Tourism & Travel Agency’s general manager Tayfun Bayram. “They are not as influenced by the media unlike the Europeans. The Chinese trust the government, so if no severe travel advisory is issued they will still visit a destination.”
Another Turkish tour operator, Alican Aktas, chief representative at Erguvan, shares similar sentiments. “The Chinese are not easily afraid. Even one week after the bombings, you could still see Chinese groups around, unlike the Japanese.”

Kevin Sheng, product executive supervisor at Shanghai Toptown International Travel Agency, also downplays the impact of the current diplomatic spat between China and South Korea. He said: “We’re already seeing a recovery of about 30 to 40 per cent (of outbound demand to South Korea). (The drop) is certainly not as dramatic as reported by the media.”
Source:, 15 May 2017

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