Muscat – Oman is gearing up to secure the first-mover advantage, prepare and adapt to the needs of Chinese travellers, before the Chinese outbound tourist wave returns in 2023.
Chinese travellers are currently limiting international travel owing to restrictions on their return home.
The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MHT) organised a workshop – China Ready – to introduce partners in the Omani tourism sector on how to deal with Chinese visitors and meet their requirements.
More than 80 partners from the tourism sector, representing travel and tourism companies, hotels and airlines in the sultanate participated in the workshop held under the patronage of H E Azzan bin Qassim al Busaidi, Undersecretary for Tourism in the MHT.
‘China is one of the priority markets. Chinese outbound flights have witnessed growth, flying about 57mn passengers in 2010 to 155mn in 2019. The sultanate has seen remarkable growth in the number of Chinese tourists, from 44,580 in 2018 to 107,446 in 2019 – a growth of 141 per cent, which is the strongest of its kind,’ the ministry stated.
The China Ready workshop was conducted by Marcus Lee, CEO of CBISN, the largest marketing agency promoting destinations and service providers to Chinese outbound travellers. The company has successfully launched the programme in 49 countries across six continents.
The ministry informed that the workshop will help the sector prepare before reopening of the Chinese outward bound market, ‘as target groups, preferences and behaviour of Chinese tourists have changed since the pandemic. This knowledge will help hotels, destination management companies, tourist attractions and other service providers upgrade and update their product offerings’.
The workshop focused on understanding the Chinese traveller, what attracts them, digitalisation and technological changes, and how they choose destinations and hotels.
According to the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, destinations need to prepare for the return of Chinese outbound tourists with better products and niche offerings.
“The preparation, the acquisition of knowledge and the adaptation of services need to be done now, before the wave arrives,” said Wolfgang Georg Arlt, CEO of the institute.