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.

Ireland Rolls Out the Red Carpet
Tourism Ireland hopes to welcome 200,000 Chinese tourists by 2025. Ahead of a sales mission to China, the organization announced the in-China marketing budget will double to €1million ($1.1million). With Chinese tourists increasingly turning to less conventional destinations, Ireland saw an 11 percent uptick of visitors in 2018. The introduction of a direct Beijing-Dublin flight was a key driver of growth and the Emerald Isle will be hoping for a similar reaction following Hainan Airlines’ launch of a Shenzhen-Dublin route in February.

Arabian Travel Market Looks to Innovate
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) must create tech-connected experiences if it is to capture increasingly younger and more independently minded Chinese travellers, according to international experts at the Arabian Travel Market 2019. While China-friendly visa on arrival policies have played a role in drawing 1.6 million tourists in 2018, the next step is to make the Gulf’s unique attractions accessible and shareable through Chinese social media channels. Dubai is proving a regional trailblazer and its partnership with Tencent led to the recent launch of a WeChat Mini Program for Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

Extended Vacation Pays
Beijing’s Labour Day vacation extension achieved the desired effect with 195 million domestic tourists spending $17.5 billion, a 16.1 percent year-on-year increase. May is a popular holiday period in China and tourists took advantage with 38 percent spending between $75 and $147, compared to 36.8 percent during April’s Qingming Festival. With the government increasingly looking for innovative ways to stimulate domestic spending as it shifts from an export to a consumption-based economy, expect similar holiday tinkering in the future.

Chinese PR firm Helps Local Uganda Players
Uganda Tourism Board has hired a Beijing-based travel consultancy to capture a greater proportion of the more than 500,000 annual Chinese visitors to Africa. PHG Consulting-China aims to tap into an increasing appetite for natural and cultural destinations by promoting Uganda’s unique landscape and wildlife. The relationship between the two countries has grown closer through Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with some seeing this tourism campaign as a means of minimizing Uganda’s ever-increasing debt, which stood at $11.1 billion in 2018.