While the EU-China Tourism Year 2018 (ECTY 2018) has officially come to an end, the success of the initiative continues to be evident, with growing numbers of Chinese tourists putting European destinations at the top of their tourism agendas throughout 2018 and beyond.
According to an announcement, citing data from the European Travel Commission (ETC), bookings from China to the EU for the January-April 2019 period are up by 16.9 percent compared to 2018, well ahead of the 9.3 percent increase in Chinese bookings to worldwide destinations.
Furthermore, EU destinations registered a year-on-year increase of 5.1 percent in Chinese arrivals during the 2018 ECTY, with all four EU sub-regions reporting positive growth: Central/Eastern EU posted a double-digit increase of 10.6 percent, Western EU enjoyed a 6.1 percent increase, while the Southern EU and Northern EU saw an increase of 5.2 percent and 2.7 percent respectively.
“China is the world’s largest outbound market in terms of tourists and expenditure, with Chinese travelers spending €10 billion on travel services in the EU in 2017,” said Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of the European Travel Commission (ETC).
Within the framework of the ECTY 2018, ETC rolled out an 18-month program of activities, aiming to increase the appetite of Chinese tourists to visit European destinations. An important element of this was a major promotional campaign in the biggest Chinese Online Travel Agencies and social media platforms, which ETC implemented to promote Europe’s lesser-known touristic assets.
At all times, ETC sought to assist Chinese tourists considering a trip to Europe, developing “how-to” videos along with custom-made digital travel guides, which proved an invaluable resource to many.
Chinese tourists were also aided with a Wechat Mini-Program, which provided practical information on visa applications, emergency information and translation facilities.
ETC additionally hosted 200 Chinese tour operators on trans-European familiarization trips in 22 EU countries.