Getting tourism industry ‘China ready’

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 15 July 2018, 12:00AM

Samoa’s tourism operators will be given insights on the characteristics of Chinese tourists and their expectations in a workshop next month.

Samoa Tourism Authority’s representative in China, Marcus Lee, will run two half-day training workshops at the Aggie Greys Sheraton Hotel August 8-9. The objective of the workshops is to enable local operators to be ‘product and service ready’ when Chinese tourists fly into the country.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Lee said the workshop participants can look forward to learning what a Chinese wants, especially from the perspective of a Chinese. 

“During the workshops we will cover things like Chinese tourist characteristics and their expectations, China outbound travel market, five steps in marketing, industry specific knowledge and culture and customs just to name some highlights,” he said.

He said now is the time to capitalize on the increasing number of outbound Chinese tourists, which is expected to grow to 200 million in a few years. Currently Samoa’s Chinese visitor numbers make up 2.2 per cent, which is roughly 3000 per year, but Lee’s goal is to grow that to 10,000 in three years.

“In 2017 (last year) 130 million Chinese travelled around the world, the Chinese tourist has changed and they are interested in experiences rather than sightseeing and shopping. In order to know your target market, you must know all facets of it. China Ready is the starting point for industry players to enter China market. In this programme you will have a renewed understanding of what China outbound travel market is about. Through this programme you will understand how to reach them.”

The Samoa Tourism Authority is planning a roadshow to China in November this year, which Lee said is a proactive move as it will bring business to Samoa. An attraction of a holiday destination is the number and quality of activities available for tourists with Lee indicating he will do a ‘destination audit’. 

“I’m currently in discussion with S.T.A and a destination audit is important because what you think Chinese wants is different from what Chinese think they want – this includes products, services, expectations and pricing. Is it expensive for tourism operators to make their businesses ‘China ready’? It depends on how much activities you want to do. To be China Ready is not a big cost but the unique selling point of this programme is to help you to take action instead of just regular training.”

Acting C.E.O of Samoa Tourism Authority, Joe Chang Ting, said it is important that tourism operators get involved to avoid being left behind.   

“Anyone that wants to be ‘China Ready’ needs to be in the programme in order for him to give advice and know what needs to be done with regards to a specific operation,” he said. 

“Recently last year there were 130 million people travelling out of China I think in the next couple of years that will exceed to 200 million. Even if we had a fraction of that it would have massive benefits for example, every Chinese tourist travelling to the United States, he or she spends US$8,000. 

The August 8-9 workshop will cost US$299 per person. For more information call the S.T.A.

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 15 July 2018, 12:00AM

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