The growing popularity of cultural travel in China has led to a shift in search terms and posting habits on the microblogging platform, Weibo. This insight was one of the key takeaways from the Sina Weibo V-Influence Summit 2019 that was held on August 4 in Chengdu.

As an open, searchable, and interactive platform that’s video friendly, Weibo has become a hub for travel content and is a valuable resource for understanding growing sector trends. It includes travelers using the site to broadcast their own experiences, influencers tapping into a broader audience than those on closed platforms like WeChat, and DMOs producing engaging ad content that trumpets their respective regions.

And the cultural tourism sector continues to grow. Related keywords exceeded the 500 million mark (a 14 percent year-on-year increase), and content using these keywords surpassed 1.6 billion (a 28 percent year-on-year increase). The overall number of related posts grew by seven percent, according to data released by Weibo at the August summit.

As Yang Wei, editor in chief at Sina Travel, said at the Chengdu conference, “The unique social power, content power, and influencing-effect of Weibo make it important for brands in the travel industry.”

Cultural tourism terms that have trended on Weibo over the past year include; homestay, rural tourism, self-driving, museum tourism.

Aside from presenting user-generated data on China’s flourishing travel industry, Sina Travel, a branch of Sina that provides travel insight and information for consumers as well as digital media expertise for DMOs, is playing an increasingly active role in promoting cultural tourism. In 2019, Sina Travel signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Dunhuang Wenlv Group to promote one of the most famous areas of the Silk Road, which includes the Mogao Caves, the Yumen Pass and the iconic Crescent Lake. In less than six months, the Dunhuang’s Weibo page had accumulated over 900,000 followers.

Sina Weibo also recently collaborated with China National Geographic to present an annual list of the nation’s most beautiful destinations. Based on these examples, Sina Travel will likely continue to leverage its unique insights on China’s cultural travel landscape to forge more partnerships and drive other trends in the future.

Sina Weibo V-Influence Summit 2019 also used the occasion to announce Chinese travel trends across a range of categories including:

The 2019 Weibo Top 10 Hottest Destinations

Australia, Dubai, Fiji, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom.

The 2019 Weibo Top 10 Most Promising Destinations

Argentina, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Jerusalem, Maldives, Peru, Queensland (Australia), South Africa, Tahiti.