ECTY leadership met with Tuniu, China’s largest group tour operator, to discuss ways to work together to understand, improve and increase China’s outbound group travel to Europe. Tuniu’s team included Vice President Geyujing, Public Affairs Director Yuyingshuo, Public Affairs Deputy GM Xinshoudong and Outbound Destination Deputy Director Changqing.
The number of FIT travellers in China is on the rise, however group travel is still a very important target market the needs of which must be addressed. ETC selected Tuniu for initial discussions because of its presence in the market: it is the leading e-commerce platform for third-party travel tour packages in China. Tourism is the third largest driver of consumer consumption in China and Tuniu offers more than 2,000 domestic and overseas packaged tours departing from ten different cities.
Tuniu participated in preparing a report on Chinese tourists in 2016 that delivered two findings of particular interest. One is that Chinese travellers are interested in changing their perceived image of usually traveling in large groups focussed on picture-taking and shopping to acting like travellers who are more willing to explore.
The finding of great relevance to ECTY’s mission to promote less well-known destinations and experiences is that although Chinese travellers remain price-conscious, they want to spend money on the right items and activities and have preferred visiting small, tranquil towns, attending nearby festivals and sampling local cuisines.