After acquiring a controlling stake in domestic travel agency Traveling Bestone, Ctrip continued to increase its bet in the vacation sector. ChinaTravelNews learned on October 24 that the Chinese online travel company has invested in two major ground handlers in North America – Ctour Holiday (formerly Seagull Holiday) on the west coast and UNIVERSAL VISION on the east coast. The size of these investments and Ctrip’s shareholdings were not disclosed.
Los Angeles-based Ctour Holiday was founded in 2000 and operates in tour wholesale, group handling and bus rental. A travel agent in North America told ChinaTravelNews that Ctour Holiday and UNIVERSAL VISION together hold more than 50% market share of handling Chinese group tours in North America.
An industry analyst said that Ctrip’s North America offerings are mainly group tours and the investments will help the company build up its destination service and procurement system in the area. The investments may lay solid foundation for Ctrip devolving its vacation business for an independent listing.
According to data from the United States Travel and Tourism Administration (USTTA), Chinese travelers made 3 million trips to the US in 2015, up by 16% YoY, and Chinese tourists spent USD 6,000-7,000 per capita, far higher than the spending of visitors from the rest of the world. Air passenger traffic from China to America grew 47% in the first half of 2016. (Translated by Jerry)