After the visa-waiver agreement between China and Maldives came into effect in 2023, there has been a significant increase in searches for trips to the Maldives on Chinese booking platforms.
Chinese tourists’ enthusiasm and growing purchasing power have fueled this surge in interest. Trip.com Group, formerly known as Ctrip, has reported a 200% increase in interest in the Maldives as a holiday destination.
Additionally, reservations for Maldives-related goods have seen a 50% month-over-month increase since February 6. The Maldives has also ranked among the top five international vacation destinations for group tours and self-guided tours on the marketplace.
Even before the pandemic, the Maldives had already captured the hearts of Chinese tourists with its exotic and beautiful collection of over 1000 islands in the Indian Ocean.
The Chinese Tourist Market Overview
The Chinese tourist market is diverse and consists of individuals with varying age ranges, income levels, and interests. However, they all share a strong interest in popular travel destinations, mobile payments, and social media usage.
In 2023, there is expected to be a recovery in the market, particularly in the second and third quarters of the year. During these months, Chinese tourists are anticipated to travel the most due to the summer season and resolved visa issues.
Chinese travellers have historically been the world’s biggest spenders in tourism, with many Chinese tourists investing significant amounts of money on overseas trips. In 2019, Chinese travelers took 154.6 million trips abroad and spent nearly $255 billion, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
It is predicted that Asian countries will be the preferred destinations for Chinese tourists, as they are more easily accessible from China. However, there is also an expected increase in the number of Chinese travelers visiting Europe, the United States, and the Maldives towards the end of the year.
Discount Culture and Storytelling
The fake honeymoon story shocked Chinese people. To get a discount, some Chinese people pretend to be coupled enjoying a honeymoon in the Maldives. Hotels, agents, and resorts offer special rooms, discounts, or free lunches for new couples. Special offers usually include free meals, a complimentary visit to a spa and can include a basket of fruit or a bottle of champagne.
Most resorts require tourists to apply within six months of their marriage date. But marriage certificates can be easily manipulated on computers, and agents don’t have to break a sweat faking documents for clients.
Fake certificates & the fake honeymoon increase has been criticized by Chinese netizens. To get more customers, Chinese travel agencies are encouraging or even assisting their clients to forge fake marriage documents for honeymoon packages offered by Maldives travel agencies.
This is one of the reasons why Maldives became so popular and more Chinese tourists heard about this place from social media platforms.
Chinese Typical Tourist vs Chinese Rich Tourist
Chinese typical tourists and Chinese rich tourists can be differentiated based on their travel preferences, spending habits, and overall travel experiences.
Chinese typical tourists often prefer budget-friendly options and may choose to visit popular tourist attractions, such as historical sites, cultural landmarks, and natural wonders. They might participate in group tours and follow pre-planned itineraries.
Chinese rich tourists, on the other hand, have the financial means to indulge in luxury travel experiences, growing the appetite for the premium Chinese outbound tourism market. They may opt for private tours, personalized itineraries, and exclusive accommodations. They might also seek unique and off-the-beaten-path destinations, focusing on personalized and high-end experiences.
Chinese typical tourists tend to be more budget-conscious and look for affordable options when it comes to transportation, accommodation, and dining. They may prioritize shopping for souvenirs and local products as part of their travel experience.
Chinese rich tourists have higher spending power and are willing to splurge on luxury goods, high-end shopping, fine dining, and exclusive experiences. They may also invest in high-quality accommodations, private transportation, and personalized services.
Chinese typical tourists often travel in larger groups, following organized itineraries and visiting popular tourist spots. They might have limited interaction with locals and focus more on capturing photos and experiencing well-known attractions.
Chinese rich tourists, on the other hand, have the opportunity to explore destinations more extensively. They may have access to exclusive experiences, such as private tours, VIP access to attractions, and personalized services. They might also engage in cultural activities, interact with locals, and seek immersive travel experiences.
How to Attract Chinese Tourists to Your Resort, Hotel, or Agency?
Establish partnerships with local Chinese agencies
Partnering with Chinese travel agencies is a strategic move to attract affluent Chinese tourists to the picturesque destination of Maldives. By collaborating with these agencies, Maldives agencies can tap into their extensive network and expertise in promoting travel experiences to Chinese travelers.
The partnership allows for targeted marketing campaigns, tailored itineraries, and exclusive offers that cater to the preferences and interests of wealthy Chinese tourists.
Through this collaboration, Maldives can showcase its pristine beaches, luxury resorts, and unique cultural experiences, enticing Chinese travelers to explore and indulge in the beauty and luxury that Maldives has to offer.
Also, the vast majority of Chinese tourists travel in groups, led by local agencies. But what’s becoming more and more popular is individual travel, especially among the High Class of Chinese travelers. Travel groups always offer lower prices, but do not create that same sense of luxury that tailor-made itineraries and services.
Group travels are still popular because:
- Language barriers: many Chinese citizens are not able to speak English so they need a guide
- Visa: agencies take care of everything and make it easier to get the VISA
- Fear of safety: most Chinese people are new travelers, and are afraid to explore out of their comfort zone.
- Groups: In Chinese culture, Chinese are used to doing things in larger groups.
- Price: traveling with a travel agency is much cheaper than traveling in a single or small group, and the Chinese are still sensitive to price.
How to reach your customers directly?
Chinese tourists use online tools to search for information or to book their trips.
The major efficient marketing tools used are:
- SEO: have good visibility on Baidu, the Chinese number one search engine.
- Community management: be on every influential Chinese travel platform.
They are suitable methods because:
- They require a low initial investment,
- Good ROI (Return on Investment)and measurable.
- a wide range of media,
- High levels of interactivity with the customer
- All these factors make online promotion a big factor in the tourism sector
- E-reputation control, get good comments and scores from forums or specialized websites
- Communicate via Chinese social networks (like Weibo)
Create a Chinese Website for Brand Visibility
Chinese is the most spoken language in the world, and having a website in their native language makes it easier for Chinese visitors to understand the offerings and services available in the Maldives. It helps in building trust and providing a seamless experience.
Chinese tourists have unique preferences and cultural expectations. A Chinese website can showcase the Maldives’ understanding of their culture, customs, and preferences, which can make them feel more comfortable and inclined to visit.
China has a large population of affluent individuals who are interested in luxury travel experiences. By having a Chinese website, the Maldives can tap into this market and increase its visibility and accessibility to potential Chinese tourists.
A Chinese website allows the Maldives to establish a strong online presence in China’s digital landscape, including search engines, social media platforms, and travel booking websites that are popular among Chinese travelers. This increases the chances of being discovered and considered by interested individuals.
While having a Chinese website can be beneficial, it’s important to note that it’s just one component of an overall marketing strategy. Other efforts, such as targeted advertising, partnerships with Chinese travel agencies, and cultural exchange initiatives, can also play a significant role in attracting rich Chinese tourists to the Maldives.
PR (Press Relations) to Work on your Reputation
Press relations can play a crucial role in attracting Chinese tourists to the Maldives. Here are a few strategies that can be effective:
Develop relationships with Chinese media outlets
Establishing connections with popular Chinese media outlets, such as newspapers, magazines, and online platforms, can help promote the Maldives as a desirable tourist destination. Collaborate with journalists and influencers to create engaging content that highlights the unique attractions and experiences the Maldives has to offer.
Organize press trips and familiarization tours
Invite Chinese journalists, travel bloggers, and influencers to visit the Maldives on press trips. Showcasing the beauty of the islands, the luxury resorts, and the diverse marine life can generate positive coverage and create a buzz among potential Chinese tourists.
Leverage Chinese social media marketing
Utilize popular Chinese social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin to share captivating stories, images, and videos of the Maldives. Collaborate with Chinese influencers who have a significant following to spread the word about the destination and encourage their followers to visit.
Translate press releases and promotional materials
Ensure that all press releases, brochures, and promotional materials are translated accurately into Mandarin to effectively communicate with Chinese media outlets and potential tourists. This will help in conveying the key selling points and unique experiences available in the Maldives.
Engage with Chinese travel agencies and tour operators
Collaborate with Chinese travel agencies and tour operators to promote the Maldives as a preferred destination. Offer attractive packages and incentives to encourage them to include the Maldives in their itineraries and market it to their clients.
Social Media and E-Commerce Marketing
Chinese tourists are increasingly using social media and e-commerce platforms to plan and book their trips. To attract Chinese tourists to the Maldives, it is important to understand their preferences and effectively utilize these platforms. Here are a few strategies:
Chinese Social Media Presence
Establishing a strong presence on popular Chinese social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin (TikTok). Creating engaging content, share stunning visuals of the Maldives, and promote unique experiences and offers.
Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and Influencer Marketing
Collaborate with influential Chinese travel bloggers, vloggers, and celebrities who have a large following in China. They can create content featuring the Maldives and share their experiences, which can greatly influence Chinese tourists’ travel decisions.
Chinese Language Support
Have a website, booking platform, and customer service support available in Chinese. This will make it easier for Chinese tourists to navigate and understand the information, leading to a better user experience.
Special Promotions and Packages
Offer tailored promotions and packages specifically designed for Chinese tourists. This can include discounts, complimentary services, or unique experiences that appeal to their interests and preferences.
Chinese consumers are avid users of mobile payments, with a high percentage willing to spend more if overseas merchants accept Chinese mobile payment platforms such as Alipay. Additionally, a significant number of Chinese tourists have already utilized mobile payments while traveling abroad. Therefore, integrating these payment platforms into your business will not only cater to this market but also maximize tourist spending.
The KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) or Stars to let Chinese people dream
KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) have the power to influence the Chinese, they usually have big communities around them. Receiving good comments from them raise the profile of your services.
KOLs play also a significant role in attracting Chinese travelers to visit destinations like the Maldives. Here are a few examples of Chinese influencers who have promoted travel to the Maldives:
- Luo Yonghao (罗永浩): Luo Yonghao is a well-known Chinese entrepreneur and influencer who has a large following on social media platforms such as Weibo. He has shared his travel experiences in the Maldives, showcasing the beautiful scenery and luxurious resorts.
- Li Ziqi (李子柒): Li Ziqi is a popular Chinese YouTuber and influencer known for her videos showcasing traditional Chinese culture and rural life. Although she primarily focuses on lifestyle content, she has also featured her trip to the Maldives, highlighting the stunning beaches and underwater activities.
- Wang Junkai (王俊凯): Wang Junkai is a Chinese singer, actor, and influencer who has a massive following on social media platforms. He has collaborated with various travel brands and has shared his experiences in the Maldives, attracting young Chinese travelers to explore the destination.
These are just a few examples, and there are many more Chinese influencers who have promoted travel to the Maldives.
We are your local partner in China! Contact us!
Wealthy Chinese individuals have shown a growing interest in visiting the Maldives. The Maldives, with its pristine beaches, luxurious resorts, and unique cultural experiences, has become an attractive destination for affluent Chinese travelers.
The increasing number of direct flights, visa relaxations, and tailored services for Chinese tourists have further contributed to this trend.
The Maldives offers an exclusive and exotic getaway for those seeking a high-end travel experience.
We are a China-based marketing agency offering cost-effective solutions to foreign brands interested in tapping into the Chinese market. Our team of Chinese and foreign experts has the experience and know-how needed to succeed in this lucrative, yet complicated market.
Gentlemen Marketing Agency offers many digital marketing and e-commerce solutions, such as web design, e-commerce and social media marketing strategies, localization, market research, KOL marketing, and more.
Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us, so that we can schedule a free consultation with one of our experts, that will learn about your brand and present you the best solutions for your China market strategy.