Tnooz, Martin Cowen - Alibaba’s travel brand Alitrip is building partnerships in countries where it anticipates demand from “young, affluent and mobile” Chinese travellers.
The US is one of its priorities, and earlier this week it signed deals with four US suppliers – Americantours, JTB Americas, AC Travel, All Americas Group — and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
There is also a dedicated US destination page on Alitrip.
Younger Chinese nationals visiting the US are looking to travel independently rather than in a group and are interested in experiences and visiting smaller cities.
Sherri Wu, Alitrip’s chief strategy officer, said: “What they’re looking for today is extreme experiences such as skydiving, bungee jumping and other outdoor travel. Those customers can’t find those products easily in the Chinese market.”
Meanwhile, Alitrip has also started working with the Singapore Tourist Board (STB), giving its users access to special deals provided by STB partners.
Destinations on Alitrip’s radar include South Korea, Japan and other southeast Asian countries as well as Australia and New Zealand. The two European destinations specified are France and Italy, although Alitrip admitted, “there is no definite timeline on when those will hit the market.”
Alitrip was spun off by Alibaba in October 2014, and its focus to date has been on the domestic market. The ramping up of its outbound business is a reaction not only to the changing demographic profile of the Chinese consumer but also its competitors. Wu said:
“Lots of other players are starting to focus on this area. If we don’t move now we could lose our leadership position.”
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