Here’s Jing Travel’s weekly guide to stories that give insight into Chinese travel trends and how they affect the industry’s main players.

It’s the last week before most Chinese travelers begin their Lunar New Year holiday, which is expected to see roughly 7 million tourists travel abroad. Because of this, destinations and attractions are releasing social media campaigns in a last-ditch effort to draw in more of those tourists, particularly the expanding demographic of FITs (free independent travelers) who might not have finalized their itineraries.

While the vast majority of Chinese outbound travelers will stick to short-haul trips to neighboring countries (which is why Japan and Thailand remain top destinations), many will venture farther afield to destinations in Europe and North America. Odds are that local travel industry players and retailers at these destinations should be better prepared for the influx of Chinese tourists this year.

Singapore Hopes to Increase Spending by Going Cashless

Retailers on Singapore’s luxury man-made island getaway, Sentosa, are trying to capitalize on the country’s popularity among Chinese tourists this year. In preparation for the Lunar New Year travel period, the region has gone cashless with the help of Alipay. Visitors will be able to use the mobile payments for everything from attractions to food & beverage purchases. Sentosa will also promote this technological advancement to further increase awareness among tourists.

WeChat Brings Tourists to Australia

The National Gallery of Victoria has found a way to draw in more Chinese tourists: WeChat campaigns. As more independent travelers seek out destinations with culture and history, museums have moved higher up on their travel wishlists, and this Aussie museum has managed to break into the top 10 list of most popular museum and attraction WeChat accounts for the third quarter of 2018 – no small feat.

New Direct Flights to Canada Amid Diplomatic Row

Hainan Airlines announced plans to inaugurate twice weekly direct flights between Shenzhen and Vancouver starting January 28th. The flight service plans come during a diplomatic tit-for-tat between the two nations that began with the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou last December. It will be the first direct flight between Shenzhen and Canada.

Cultural Destinations Reaching Out to China

It’s not only the major destinations promoting themselves to Chinese tourists; more of the less visited destinations are showcasing their unique culture and activities to the ever-growing outbound travel market. The Hague Marketing Bureau (THMB) posted an article on its official WeChat account on January 8th that highlighted the city’s family-friendly activities, which includes more than 30 museums.

Can WeChat Pay Boost Retail in Paris?  

WeChat Pay launched its “One for Billion” initiative with Parisian department store BHV Marais. The initiative will bring smart retail solutions to the store in time for the Chinese New Year crowd to enjoy shopping in the French capital.