China's outbound travel beats forecast, Alibaba debuts Flyzoo Hotel, and more
Chinese tourists have made 162 million outbound trips before this year ends, Alibaba launched its first “future hotel” Flyzoo, and Ctrip tapped into social networking with a new feature.
Chinese tourism prospect
Chinese tourists made more than 71 million outbound trips in the first half of 2018, up 15% from 62 million in 2017, according to data from the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute. The overall outbound number of the year, estimated to be 162 million, exceeded the institute’s forecast of 154 million.
Thailand, one of the favorite destinations for Chinese travelers, received the 10 millionth Chinese visitor in 2018 in Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport. Chinese visitors remain the biggest contributor to Thailand's lucrative tourism industry, with more than 520 billion baht (USD 103 billion) generated from more than 9.8 million tourists in 2017.
China is also likely to become the world's largest cruise market in the next 10 to 20 years –the number of Chinese travelers to go on cruises is expected to grow to 8 to 10 million by 2025, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) aims to construct 216 new airports, bringing the total to 450 by 2035. Airports in China put through 552 million travelers last year, and the number is expected to increase to 720 million by 2020.
Skyscanner outlined top trends for 2019, showing that in addition to a doubling in ancillary revenue, airlines are converting browsing to booking with an average 20% conversion uplift, 50% in mobile conversions.
Airbnb, Ctrip, and Alibaba
Airbnb expected its China business to grow nearly three times in the second half of 2018. Domestic business in China accounted for more than 50% of the company’s overall portfolio. This year, Chinese travelers traveled to more than 3,800 cities in 200 countries and regions, and more than 50% of them were in Southeast Asia.
Alibaba opened its first hi-tech “future hotel” FlyZoo Hotel in Hangzhou where guests can check in and access other hotel services by simply scanning their faces. Users can also control the lights, television and curtains in the room via Alibaba’s voice-activated digital assistant, while robots are deployed to serve food, cocktails and coffee.
In an attempt to gain a foothold in the social networking space, Ctrip has launched a new feature named LvPai (meaning travel photography in Chinese), allowing users to share photos and videos with text, weather and location. Users will be rewarded with points after uploading a post and receive RMB 100 in cash for a post selected as high-quality content.
Airbus China Innovation Center, the European aircraft maker’s China research and development office in Shenzhen, has signed an agreement with China Mobile Intelligent Mobility Network Technology to co-develop in-flight Wi-Fi services, developing an end-to-end solution and create new in-flight high-speed connectivity.
Jin Jiang International Hotels aims for full ownership of Brussels-based Radisson Hospitality AB by making a 40 Swedish krona ($4.38) per share offer for the remaining 49.79% of Radisson. In August, Jin Jiang bought a 50.21% stake in Radisson for 35 krona ($3.83) per share from Chinese counterpart HNA Group.
China Southern Air Holding ceased to be a substantial shareholder of Chinese state-controlled GDS provider TravelSky after the sale of its 146,600,000 domestic shares of Travelsky to China Mobile Capital Holding, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Mobile Communications Group. The transaction represented approximately 5.01% of the total issued share capital of TravelSky.
Indoor entertainment space operator Neobio Family Park announced that it had secured tens of millions of yuan in its A round of financing. It is currently rolling out outlets across top-tier cities in China, adopting a “flagship+boutique” model in major cities.
Outdoor experience service platform Tourye has picked up RMB 40 million in its Pre-B round of financing led by strategic investor Tuniu. The company is anticipated to turn over more than RMB 100 million in 2018, with hundreds of customers and tens of millions of yuan registered in every single event.