Vanuatu’s travel industry is getting on the front foot in planning for future growth of tourism from China. At a “China Ready” workshop in Port Vila on September 14 presented by PTI China, industry heard from a range of Chinese travel experts and discussed strategic options for Vanuatu to benefit from engaging with the China market.
Industry members expressed a strong commitment to strengthening Vanuatu’s market position as a culture, adventure and relaxation destination and many participants expressed an aversion to becoming a budget, mass tourism destination.
China experts reinforced that a smart strategy would be for Vanuatu to gradually market itself and build capacity to service adventurous, high-spending, independent travellers from China. In the absence of direct air links in the foreseeable future, growth is likely to be manageable. Nevertheless, some targeted marketing and capacity building assistance has seen a 34 per cent year-on-year growth in recent years, with 2,700 Chinese visitors in 2016 likely to grow to almost 4,000 in 2017.
PTI China has brought in high profile bloggers and produced the first virtual reality tourism feature on Vanuatu which has sparked Chinese market interest. IFC World Bank has worked to build local industry capacity to offer packages through major Chinese operators.
Visiting Vanuatu with PTI China were representatives of China’s “trip adviser” Mafengwo and a major luxury travel agent, Zanadu. They were impressed with Vanuatu’s attractions and activities including Tanna Island’s volcano and the natural beauty throughout the islands.
Tips for the industry in adapting for the high-spending, active Chinese traveller segment included providing free wi fi (to amplify promotion of Vanuatu on China’s powerful social media platforms), speedy responses to enquiries and provision of activities and experiences that include learning about ni-Vanuatu culture and opportunities to buy cultural handicrafts.
The workshop was organised by PTI China in partnership with IFC World Bank and the Vanuatu Tourism Office.
For more information email Vivienne Song, Manager Tourism, Media & Marketing, PTI China on firstname.lastname@example.org