This business trip, organised over a week by Atout France, the French government tourism agency, enabled the port and destination representatives to schedule meetings with major travel agencies in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, alongside participating as delegates at Seatrade Cruise Asia Pacific.
The French delegation’s objectives were to get insight about the evolution of the Chinese market, to identify the key contacts, to highlight France’s offer in terms of ocean and river cruise ports and varied excursion experiences, as well as the immense potential of pre- and post-cruises stays available for visiting Chinese guests.
Mediterranean the top destination, after Asia, for the China source market
The Chinese travel professionals they met highlighted the Mediterranean as the top destination for the China source market cruising abroad and Europe ranks as the second most popular destination, after Asia, for Chinese travellers.
Some of the lessons learnt by the French port executives during their visit included: ongoing difficulties for Chinese citizens to obtain visas to visit some countries;
Shopping still on trend
That more middle class Chinese passengers want first hand encounters with locals and shopping is still on trend but new services should be implemented locally for the Chinese market with the possibility of payment by WeChat.
Chinese travellers expectations are more precise than one would think, noted the delegation, finding from travel agencies that many are already familiar with French tourist assets such as the numerous UNESCO sites and they are looking for new products in order to satisfy their customers in search of immersive and authentic experiences, off the beaten track.