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China: Business travel still slow


BANGKOK, 27 AUGUST 2020: Leisure travel in China is making a comeback ahead of business travel according to Dragon Trails Interactive CEO George Cao.

Commenting on the recovery in China’s tourism market during Tuesday’s Destination Mekong Summit, he said business travel suffered a bigger impact than domestic leisure travel.

Business travel could be replaced by digital events and meetings as a long-term trend, that would save costs for corporations, he noted.  On the other hand, domestic leisure travel has seen a growth in small groups and family travel visiting single destinations rather than multi-stop package tours.

Chinese travellers are choosing to travel based on their perceptions of safety, he said. “PR and social media messaging are now more important than ever.”

There have been shifts in the digital marketing channels as Chinese look at destinations assessing health and safety while looking for travel products that offer experiences. Online travel agents will need to create new products for the China market as travellers demand more natural and cultural experiences when travelling. Virtual travel trade shows and corporate digital events will continue even if physical meetings begin to recover.  

Business travel from China, rather than leisure is expected to open up first to the Mekong region possibly to Thailand and Vietnam under arrangements to allow investors and those with business interests in the two countries permission to travel.

China has not given any indicators when travel firms in the country can start selling outbound travel, and that is likely to remain an uncertainty into 2021. The earliest predictions on Chinese tour groups returning to the Mekong Region point to February during the Chinese New Year or even March.

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