Spain Tourism getting ready to welcome Chinese outbound travelers

The Spain Tourism Ministry is the first European tourism authority to facilitate a recovery program that caters to Chinese outbound travelers.

  1. Chinese travelers are ready to go abroad once it is safe to do so after COVID-19.
  2. Where there is quality there will be traveler peer recommendations.
  3. Tourists from China want smaller groups.                                               

Most Chinese travelers are eager to start going abroad again as soon as it appears to be safe and borders are reopened. Their demands and expectations, however, have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, they are more open to visiting new destinations and are more interested in nature and smaller cities as well as in traveling in smaller groups of family members or friends.

Turespaňa, the promotion agency of the Spain national tourism ministry, is preparing for destinations in Spain to welcome an anticipated new wave of Chinese visitors after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program being used is called Advantage: Tourism and was developed by COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute and a number of partner organizations. It is a sustainable approach for the Chinese market based on trainings for the knowledge transfer about the specific interests of different market segments and accordingly the development of bespoke offers.

It is believed that higher quality leads to higher satisfaction, which results in recommendations of visitors to their peers back home. In this way, money saved on marketing can be used for the education and empowerment of the Spanish tourism service providers and can attract affluent Chinese visitors to other parts of the country outside of the traditional main season.

Spain attracted almost 700,000 Chinese in 2019, but most of them visited only Barcelona and Madrid, adding to the problem of overtourism, while ignoring the many other attractive regions and cities. The new curiosity of many Chinese is to get closer to local nature and culture, including gastronomy.

Chinese travelers do not fly all the way to Europe to go to the beach and most of them do not even come for the sunshine. Provided with the right offers and interesting stories, they will not only add to the number of visitors to Spain but will bring benefits to new regions,” said Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt, CEO of COTRI.

Now is the right time to prepare for the future wave of Chinese outbound travelers, as many destinations will compete for them and the old way of traveling in big groups for sightseeing and shopping is getting out of fashion in China.

Learning the secrets of Sherry in Jerez or visiting the roots of the art of Flamenco in Sevilla, finding inner peace on the Camino de Santiago or sampling fine dining in San Sebastian, Spain has more than the crowded Ramblas in Barcelona and mediocre Chinese food in Madrid to offer.


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