25 June 2020
Return of Chinese tourists to Paris: how to reassure them?
60% of Chinese plan to visit Paris in the next six months, according to the “Travel Intentions” barometer launched by the Paris Tourism Office and Atout France. This is good news for the Parisian tourism sector…provided that it adapts to new travel habits. So what are the new expectations of Chinese customers? How do they orchestrate their vacations and how can they be accompanied?
On July 1, Schengen member countries were to reopen their external borders to China, provided that the latter accepts European nationals on its territory. These negotiations, still foggy, offer the opportunity to question the new needs of Chinese tourists, who, far from buses and guided tours, now wish to emancipate themselves from mass tourism.
Who are the new Chinese tourists?
According to Bernadette Dortu, a specialist in Chinese tourist clientele and founding partner of the Maxity agency, a new clientele is emerging, more demanding, young and wealthy. They are emancipating themselves from mass tourism and travel agencies thanks to their linguistic autonomy acquired through their studies. Their expectations are clearly different from those of their elders and are evolving towards personalized, tailor-made stays, but in complete autonomy.
Quest for autonomy and reassurance
If these new tourists are more independent and are experimenting with autonomy, they still need (and perhaps even more than before) to be accompanied, advised and reassured. Especially since comfort remains a priority for them. The key will be to accompany them before and during their stay through a presence on online platforms such as Ctrip, but also systematic translations and explanatory or preventive content. This, according to Maxity, is still too rare.
In search of authenticity and historical discoveries, the new Chinese tourists really want to travel in French regional cities and villages without being accompanied. This is still a challenge according to the Maxity agency. Not only because the main means of payment for the Chinese, Alipay, is still not offered enough by the French, but also because there are still too few applications or content translated into Chinese, which are necessary to be guided without a guide.
“France shows a lack of otherness towards the Chinese clientele” regrets Bernadette Dortu. This is in contrast to countries like Serbia and Morocco, which have not only managed to adjust to the needs of the Chinese by offering services adapted to their culture (salty breakfast, kettle in the room, translated menus) but also to make this known.
With only a few weeks to go before the return of Chinese tourists, real efforts in communication and adaptation are needed. Knowing how to be close to them, finding the right content to broadcast on the right networks could be the key to a revival of wealthy tourists.
Following the COVID crisis, know how to reassure
Chinese tourists demand impeccable health security from their host country. To counter the negative image of the Chinese on the European management of the Covid 19 crisis, it is not only necessary that the tourist establishments redouble their efforts to ensure this sanitary safety, but especially that they make it known. The HCR sector’s health protocol has been strengthened and several labels have been created to reassure customers. But the Chinese still need to be aware of these commitments…