Battles on under dark skies for boom

Updated: 2014-11-03 08:15

By Xiao Lixin and Zheng Xin(China Daily)

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Last year, 625,000 tourists arriving from the UK visited China, 1.07 percent higher than in the previous year, while 533,500 came from France, 1.66 percent higher compared with the previous year.

In the first nine months of the year, inbound tourism brought in $37.9 billion in foreign exchange revenue, but Dai says the trade deficit in China's outbound and inbound tourism will exceed $100 billion this year. That represents a doubling of last year's figure, which itself was 3.27 percent higher than the year before.

The World Tourism Organization says China topped the world's outbound travel source market last year, with about 100 million Chinese nationals heading to overseas travel destinations.

On average, a Chinese resident spent $1,368 in overseas travel, almost three times the amount inbound visitors spent in the country, says Fan Zhiyong, an associate professor at Renmin University.

The China Tourist Academy says that more than 70 percent of inbound travelers to China spent relatively little in the country last year, from $501 to $3,000 for each visit.

The Chinese online travel agency Ctrip International recently launched a new mobile app targeting foreign visitors traveling to the country, allowing them to check all their travel information, including real-time updates on flights, hotel booking and modifications in Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, South Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

It has also offered mobile exclusive savings of up to 30 percent on hotel rates and elimination of the 3 percent international credit card surcharge previously applicable to flight bookings.

Ctrip has also introduced a Christmas lottery that promises a gift to those booking flights departing in December. Among the prizes are a night at the Fairmont Nanjing Presidential Suite, Suites at Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai, various high-end dining experiences and travel credit.

The China Tourism Academy launched a website, in September 2012 as part of its online marketing campaign to promote inbound tourism. It has also opened offices in major source countries for inbound tourists, including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain.

Elong, another large online travel agency in China, has joined the world's largest online travel agency, Expedia, in several projects aimed at luring tourists to China this year under the banner "Beautiful China 2014-Year of Smart Travel".

Jiang Shan, executive of eLong's new media division, says Expedia, apart from its expertise, has a "massive amount of data on users and their consumer behavior, which will certainly help more domestic travel agencies go global and attract foreign tourists to China".

Battles on under dark skies for boom
Battles on under dark skies for boom
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