During the last five years, a new trend conquered the Chinese tourism industry: “adventure” tourism. They like to get out of their big cities and comfort zone to visit more “extreme” destinations where they will have the chance to do original activities and live unique experiences. This is particularly the case of wealthy Chinese who have already visited many countries and are therefore looking for new sensations. This trend has even led to the creation of a new word: 深度 游 (深度 meaning “depth” and 游 meaning “traveling”). That is proof that the Chinese are now looking for an authentic experience, which they like to share on social media.
Antarctica is the coldest and most reclusive continent. Apart from cold-adapted animals, there are no permanent residents in this southern continent, which is home to the world’s largest desert. Tourists can see penguins, seals, and whales, go on hikes, etc. This is enough to seduce Chinese tourists eager for adventures! Ctrip (a Chinese provider of travel services) confirmed that more and more Chinese travelers are visiting the Polar Regions. Trips to the Arctic are not new, however, Antarctica still remained little seen. This was before the Chinese decided to make it their new “trendy destination”.
An increasingly popular destination
While only 2000 people stepped into the land of Antarctica in 1980, today the continent attracts nearly 45,000 tourists every year! Among them, the Chinese are the most numerous visitors (representing about 12% of the total visitors). Their number has been multiplied by 40 in the last ten years and it’s about to grow bigger. The first commercial flight to Antarctica took off from Hong Kong (with a stopover in Cape Town, South Africa). Most tourists previously joined the white continent by boat from New Zealand or Ushuaia (Argentina). The landing of a tourist plane on the pack ice is, therefore, a great first. This may seem risky for the protection of the continent’s ecosystem, but China has committed to controlling tourism in Antarctica. “Do not hunt, do not leave your garbage on the ground, do not touch or feed the penguins” here are some examples of rules imposed since February 8 by the Chinese government to protect the fauna and flora of the southern continent.
Who are these tourists?
To go on a trip to Antarctica you need two things: time and money. Time because you will have to take many flights to go all the way from China to Antarctica, and then stay several days to make it worth it. Money is needed for the same reasons and because this destination is really uncommon. This is why most Chinese tourists going there are aged (between 40 and 50 years old). However, they remain younger than Western tourists who are on average between 60 and 70 years old. They are also very well off! Indeed, this type of destination attracts Chinese who have already visited many countries (especially in Europe). So they had enough money to travel the world before. In addition, Antarctica is a very expensive destination. The cheapest “packages” will start around $ 10,000 but can easily go up to close to $ 100,000 for a luxurious pack.
Since they are used to traveling to incredible destinations, these tourists are looking for something new, something unique, something impressive! They are looking for ever more incredible places to take nice pictures and show off to their relatives. Indeed, the new generation of Chinese is more and more interested in the beauty of landscapes. For this category of travelers, what they particularly like is to be able to boast of having visited such a destination.
Moreover, after years of luxury travel around the world, their expectations are relatively high. However, Antarctica is not an easy destination. Finding the same level of comfort as in other countries is impossible. As a tour operator, you must, therefore, warn them in advance of the difficulties encountered during such a trip.
How to market your agency/tour operator to the Chinese?
Digital marketing is the key! To attract the attention of Chinese tourists, you have to be there where they spend the most time: on their smartphones! Since the digital revolution, the Chinese are hyper-connected and tend to prefer to use the internet for any of their purchase. It’s faster and easier, and the choice and the price range are bigger. So you have to create a site in Mandarin and reference it on Baidu. To make yourself known, use Chinese social networks (WeChat, Weibo …) because the Great Firewall of China censors all social networks used in the West. WeChat is used by millions of users every day? It is therefore important to have a presence on these networks so that the Chinese can know your agency.
If you need more tips for a travel digital marketing strategy, please contact our GMA Agency Website!