New Caledonia Tourism China Workshop 2017: Review And Prospects

For the first time, New Caledonia’s tourism professionals held a workshop in China, focusing on New Caledonia as a tourist destination, with a view to developing and establishing business relationships with the Chinese tourism industry.

A first approach which proved highly instructive for the 15 local travel professionals taking part, with numerous meetings arranged from 12 to 16 June in Beijing and Shanghai.

With Chinese travellers making over 137 million outbound trips worldwide in 2016, generating over $ 345 billion, and a steady increase in the attractiveness of island destinations for Chinese tourists 1 , New Caledonia is keenly aware of China’s key role in economic and tourism terms.

Accordingly, in early 2016 New Caledonia Tourism commissioned a study on the Chinese tourism market with the aim of assessing
the real potential for New Caledonia; the findings proved promising.

The study confirmed that there were real opportunities for New Caledonia in attracting high-end Chinese visitors constantly on the lookout for new destinations and experiences, whilst ensuring that the local tourism industry was prepped regarding various prior concerns to be addressed in order to be “China ready”.

A recommendation was therefore drafted at the Tourism Workshops2 in order to position the destination vis-à-vis this prospective market, and a series of prospecting and awareness raising initiatives were scheduled.

A first workshop was organised by NCTPS and Aircalin from 12 to 16 June in Beijing and Shanghai to provide a delegation of 9 New Caledonian tourism companies – NCTPS, Aircalin, Nouméa Travel Spécialist, Nouméa Discovery, South Pacific Tours, Marriott Hotels NC, Ramada Hotel & Suites Nouméa, GLP and Marina Beach Hotel – with an opportunity to promote New Caledonia’s attractions to Chinese tourism professionals and media outlets and to begin developing the market. Contacts with over 150 Chinese professionals (specialised in this type of destination) were made through a series of seminars, sales calls and visits to agencies.

Once on the spot, New Caledonia attracted lively interest, as reported by NCTPS Director Jean-Marc Mocellin: “Over and above our resolve to win over this new market, the trip taught us a great deal about how the Chinese tourism industry works and what the specific expectations are.

In this country where the pace is frenetic, the arrival here of a new and previously unknown destination like New Caledonia created the tourism buzz of the week, attracting decided interest from the most senior managers of each tour operator we encountered, all of whom were eager to meet the New Caledonian delegation in person.

Their view was that there was a clear place in the market for an island destination like New Caledonia, ideally positioned in terms of cost between Fiji (low cost) and Tahiti (high-end), with well developed infrastructure, a broad tourism and leisure offering and truly diverse unspoiled natural landscapes”.

This progress now has to be consolidated, by maintaining the relationships made during this workshop and by implementing the many recommendations: continuating to ensure the readiness of hoteliers and incoming agencies, encouraging diplomatic efforts to achieve simplified visa issuance, streamlining connecting flights via Japan and Australia before envisaging non-stop flights by establishing agreements with new airlines, designing combined stays in collaboration with our neighbouring countries, tapping into Chinese social media platforms Weibo and Wechat, setting up local representation to follow up on the B2C canvassing work, moving quickly to organise educational tours for tour operators and specialist media…

With the development prospects for China having been “validated”, particularly for small groups of CSP++ (high-end) travellers, and with the constraints having been identified in detail, the local tourism industry will continue to advance step-by-step, in order to avoid jeopardising its positioning and potential.

It is a matter now of organising a first charter flight in 2018 to launch New Caledonia as a destination on the Chinese market.

Workshop schedule:
12 June / Sales Call in Beijing: Visits to key travel agencies specialised in selling island destinations
(CYTS Spark Tour, CTS HO, U-TOUR Magic Travel and Unique Way).
13 June / Seminar in Beijing: Press conference and meeting with 57 Chinese tour operators and
travel agencies.
15 June / Sales Call in Shanghai: Visits to tour operators and OTA specialised in the Pacific Region
market (Shanghai Spring Tour, Vtour, Shanghai Utour, Shanghai Ctrip).
16 June / Seminar in Shanghai: Press conference and meeting with 30 Chinese tour operators and
travel agencies.

 

(Source: New Caledonia Tourism Press Release 10 July 2017)

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