Travellers avoid US, online growth projections, huge hotel hack and more China news and trends

Trips from China to the US are down, bucking the global trend which sees Chinese bookings on the rise to most destinations. Elsewhere, China’s digital travel market will grow three times quicker than the US over the next five years.

Chinese tourists around the globe

For the first half of 2018, the number of China’s inbound and outbound travelers  rose 6.9% YoY to 141 million, of which about 71.31 million were outbound travelers, an increase of 15%.

Russia received up to 50,000 Chinese tourists during the FIFA World Cup period alone. In January-July of this year, outbound tourism from China to Russia increased by 150%  compared to the same period last year, according to Ctrip. The surge in tourism is a result of Russia’s “more friendly” policy towards inbound tourism, and towards Chinese travelers in particular.

On the other hand, Chinese tourist arrivals to the US fell due to the Sino-US trade war. Data from Spain-based travel analysis firm ForwardKeys show that weekly bookings from China to the US in August were down by 8.4% while outbound bookings worldwide are ahead by 5.5%.

Group travel – six or more passengers – from China to the US is hardest hit, with current bookings levels suggesting that 2018 will end the year 34% behind 2017’s level. Bookings by independent travelers is down by only 3.9%

According to eMarketer’s latest report, this year’s global digital travel sales  will increase 10.4% to USD 694.41 billion, and digital travel sales in China will total USD 133.90 billion in 2018, a 20.5% increase over 2017. Since the bulk of China’s population has yet to book online, there is more room for growth.

“Between 2017 and 2022, China’s growth rate will more than triple that of the US each year.”

Ctrip, Meituan and Huazhu Group

Trip.com, the international travel booking platform owned by Ctrip, will work with payment service provider Ingenico in payment processing and consulting services. With Ingenico on board, Trip.com now has access to a large portfolio of local acquiring connections, currencies, payment methods and expertise. Ingenico’s multi-acquirer solution automatically reroutes declined payments to a backup acquirer, leading to higher authorization rates for Trip.com while reducing frustration for international consumers.

Ctrip has formed a partnership with China’s online entertainment service portal iQIYI. Under the agreement, iQIYI V7 VIP members will have access to the exclusive perks available to Ctrip’s Prime Members , including discounts on hotel bookings, admission to attractions, priority airport security services, priority for purchasing train tickets, as well as access to airport VIP lounges. The benefits will be available for one year after activation and can be redeemed before June 30, 2019.

On September 20, Chinese online services provider Meituan Dianping will go public in Hong Kong. It will be the city’s third biggest IPO this year. The company is valued at $50-55 billion post-flotation, after raising at least USD 4 billion in the IPO. Tencent plans to buy about $400 million worth of Meituan’s shares  to add to more than 20% it already holds.

According to local media, a hacker obtained the data of 130 million hotel guests from Huazhu Group, AccorHotels’ cross-ownership partner and one of China’s largest hotel chains with more than 100 million loyalty members. The hacker is said to be selling the personal details for 8 Bitcoin (USD 56,000) on a dark web forum. Cyber-security firm Zibao has verified the data to be authentic, adding that the breach was possible due to a mistake of the Huazhu’s development team.

Startup funding

Rural tourism marketing platform Xiangyou has secured a seed funding of about a million yuan. It launches full-service new media marketing solutions for rural tourism players, helping them with operation strategies featuring new media, e-commerce and integrated marketing. It plans to sign 200 sharing homes in 50 villages in six months.

Black Fish, a membership-based e-commerce firm founded by former executives of online travel booking site Tuniu, has received $50 million  in its latest financing round. Referencing the business models of American Express and Costco, the startup builds its own membership system and provides finance, tourism and merchandise services to its registered members. It targets young white-collar workers as the major customer group.

Other China news and trends updates

OYO expands in China, Ctrip grows offline sales and more China news and trends (20 Aug 2018)

Tencent tipped for OYO move, Chinese to spend $45 billion this summer, and more China news and trends (7 Aug 2018)

Smart hotels, investments, airline JVs and more China news and trends (23 July 2018)

IPOs, startup funding and more China news and trends (9 July 2018)

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