Olemme keränneet Suomen matkailuelinkeinolle ajankohtaista tietoa, tulevaisuuden näkymiä ja muuta hyödyllistä materiaalia Kiinasta matkailumarkkinana. Englanninkielinen markkinakatsausmateriaali päivitetään kaksi kertaa vuodessa.
Updated August 2021
Because of the COVID, the discussion/attention around outbound destinations are not from travel pespectives but more from culture, comsumer brands, political news, sports news, etc. In that sense, Finland remains to be a niche and interesting destination and Chinese people recognize Finland as a destination for Aurora hunting, home of Santa Claus, good education system, and the Happiest Country.
It doesn't bring very big influence on the position of Finland in China market. However, domestic destinations/leisure facilities in China are blooming and developing rapidly to meet the big big demands.
Major competitors are like New Zealand, Canada, Alaska, Crotia, Iceland, and other Nordic neighbors. Meanwhile, it is more likely people will cover more Nordic destinations in one trip and the coop with the neighbors are also important. Alaska, Canada, and Iceland might be the major competitors for us in the winter season and winter is still the major season for Finland in China after the COVID. Competitors from domestic destinations in China should be recognized, especially like North China, Xin Jiang, Tibet and Yunan where have unique travel resources or similar experience of Finnish offerings.
Currently, Finnair operates from Shanghai and Hongkong. JuneYao has their flight from Shanghai to Helsinki as well. Finnair and JuneYao started their joint business on Shanghai - Helsinki route in June 2021 which will bring postivie impact on the route operation and marketing after COVID. Finnair still owns the flight right in Beijing, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Xi An. Sichuan Airlines is still interested in Chengdu-Helsinki route, while Tibet Airlines holds the interests in Jinan-Helsinki route. The accessibility is not a big concern yet.
All Chinese media go digital thoroughly. Finland is visible on SoMe through VF, BF, TF or other Finnish companies' channels. There are still many positive discussions/attentions around Finnish education system and the reflections on Chinese education system in SoMe and mutiple video sites. We lack of b2c marketing activities in the market and the exposure level of Finland is comparatively low in China.
Domestic destinations are popular as the demands are high. Resorts nearby big cities (self-driving), Sanya (resorts, taxfree shopping and beach), and Western China (Xinjiang, Tibet, Guizhou, Yunnan, Gansu) are all rising destinations. Theme parks are also very popular for family, like Shanghai Disneyland or other Chinese branded theme parks. Universal Studio in Beijing will open soon and it will become another rising star in the industry. Educational travel products extemely popular in the summer holiday and camps or related facilities are having big developments by involving big investments. Sports is also a big reason for people to travel. The past ski season was crazy in China and most of ski resorts were full of people. Indoor ski facilities are also very popular as they can serve the needs in all seasons. Educational travel products like camp school or summer camp are so popular in the summer holiday as parents are willing to send away their kids for independent camp experience.
Consumer Behavior: social media platforms, especially emerging ones, like Tik Tok and The Red Book in China have become the major platforms for people to get the information about destinations. The media consumption materials are mainly short video clips(15-30 sec or 3-5 min) or nice pictures with detailed travel tips. Most OTAs start to build up and prioritize their own in-site information flow function (similar to social media posts) to encourage UGC contents, which lead to booking pages of related products. The key to drive the traffic and convert the traffic into eventual sales are to make stronger linkage between socialized contents and products of the destinations. Chinese people use social media channels as their prior way of getting information about trendy news, entertainment, shopping, travel, etc.
Most of the bookings are digitalized. OTAs are the most common platforms for travelers to make their bookings. Traditional travel agencies are also selling products on OTAs or social media channels. Some social media channels become the biggest source of sales for certain players in the market. It becomes blur between a media outlet and a sales channel.
As the offline stores were heavily influenced by the pandemic, the digitalization of every aspect of life for Chinese are thoroughly done. People are getting used to the digital way of living. However, the current life has been normalized and consumers prefer a good balance of offline + online experience for buying stuffs.
The Finnish USPs including winter fun, Santa, Aurora, happiest country lifestyle, nature are still working in China market.
Speeding up digitalization of Finnish travel industry is the key to maintain the position in the market after the COVID. The digital accessibility of services/products need to be upgraded. We also need to review our social media strategy or even digital marketing strategy. Other destinations are investing in heavily in trendy social media channels in China market with a more localized strategy.
The outbound travel industry was heavily influenced and damaged by the pandemic. Many big players including OTAs are now focusing only on domestic markets in order to survive. Smaller players and big amount of talents have left the industry. Live streaming on social media channels become important way of sales for many big players in the market.
Main distribution channels (biggest TOs): OTAs, like Ctrip, Fliggy, Mafengwo. For traditional TOs, social media become the biggest sales channels for them. We believe after the pandemic, traditional TO companies like Caissa, Utour, CITS, CTS, ETI etc. can still have a important role in the market.
Incoming agencies and DMC's connect the destination with the Chinese TOs and provide service the travelers during their trip in the destination. Due to the language barrier and payment, Chinese TOs, especially volume players tend to work with incoming agencies instead of making the booking directly. However, it is also common for tailor-made TO to make the booking directly from first-hand service providers.
Aurora, winter fun, Santa, nature, happiest country etc. are most relevant USP's. Winter Lapland including aurora and Santa are very competitive selling points in China. Our selling points are very strong and those clearly drive the decision making.
Finnish education system is another key selling point in China market. Educational travel product will bring so big potential for Finland after the pandemic is fully over.
Education is very big theme in China market and Finnish education has the popularity among Chinese consumers. Outdoors become very popular after the pandemic, like glamping, RV, hiking, biking and mountain biking; sports travel are also getting more and more popular. The Winter Olympics in Beijing is coming soon which will make the winter sports market more potential in China. Lluxury travel market is performing well in China and people start to have higher standard and demand for "luxury" products.
Sustainability is a big topic in the society as the government has clear and firm goal for it. And nature and outdoor become more important for the travelers even in domestic market. The travel trade start to review the current way of working as the pandemic also makes the industry fragile and unsustainable. Many factors result in sustainable development in the travel industry in China. Many destinations like New Zealand, South Africa, Nordic neighbors are actively promoting sustainability theme in China market throughout various campaigns and PR/social media marketing.
Chinese would prefer a "safer" destination to go, which is a complex combination of impression including general situation, COVID situation, political relationship, friendliness towards Chinese, etc. Finland is still considered as a safe destination by Chinese travelers. The accessibility is also important and Finland has big advantage as the flight connections between two countries are well established.
The Chinese border is yet to open. Finland as well as other European Union countries require reciprocity towards China so only essential travel is possible for Chinese to Finland. I don't think there is any change of the travel policy for the upcoming season.
After the pandemic, I think luxury/high-end travelers will be the first group who restart travel. In China, this group is driven by Generation Y&Z. We need to have a big focus on young generation by tuning our messages and marketing strategies.
Silver head and family are still very important target groups for us and they will come back. Educational travel is another potential category for Finland in China market, but it takes longer time for parents to let kids go for outbound educational trip as a result of the pandemic.
Generation Y&Z are the ones who are driving the sales of luxury brands in China and they are the ones who can spend much more in travel and look for unique travel experiences, which can be offered by Finland.
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