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Meliá Hotels International Prepared For An Upturn In Chinese Travel To Europe And Spain

February 6, 2017 Hotel Developments No Comments Email Email

Chinese tourists will once again be travelling to Europe in 2017, and have chosen Spain as the most popular European destination for the Chinese New Year break which begins on January 28 and during which six million trips abroad were made in 2016. Meliá Hotels International will be ready to welcome them as part of an extensive growth and implementation strategy in the Chinese market.

The ForwardKeys consultancy has published a travel survey based on the analysis of 16 million flight bookings every day which predicts that the number of Chinese international travellers will increase by 9.8% in 2017. East Asia is the preferred destination, both in the Northeast, which receives 39% of Chinese travellers, and the Southeast, with Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar among others, receiving 28% of travellers. Thailand remains the preferred destination and will grow by 5.2%, followed by Japan and Taiwan.

The study also indicates that Europe has once again become the fastest growing region after a few years of concern about security issues. Travel to Europe is expected to grow by 68.5%, with growth for Spain estimated at 88.7% increase, followed by the United Kingdom with 87.7%, the United Arab Emirates, Italy in fourth place with 59.1%, and France recovering to fifth place after growth of 48.6%.

As it will announce at FITUR (the Madrid International Tourism Trade Fair) this week, Meliá Hotels International has an ambitious expansion plan in Asia, mainly in China, where it currently operates 2 hotels and is preparing to open another 6 hotels by 2018, and Indonesia, where it operates 6 hotels and has another 10 in the process of opening. Other destinations where the company has a growing presence include Vietnam (with 3 hotels open and one preparing to open) and Thailand, where the company signed a strategic alliance a few months ago with the TCC Land group to develop hotels in the country, one of which is already open.

A great inbound and outbound travel market

In addition to growing within China, Meliá also aims to become the destination chosen by Chinese travellers when they visit Europe, America or the Middle East. With 109 million foreign travellers in 2015, China is already the leading outbound travel market in the world and has the highest level of spending on travel.

To achieve this, Meliá has leveraged its 30 years of experience in the region and its extensive knowledge of the resort, city and bleisure travel (business + leisure) to create a “Chinese-friendly” service programme known as Peng You (meaning “friend” in Mandarin Chinese) through which 90 hotels around the world, 45 of them in Spain, have adapted to the tastes and preferences of Chinese travellers.

These hotels have to meet certain standards and offer certain attributes such as customer service in Mandarin Chinese, Chinese breakfast and meals or a Chinese restaurant, Chinese TV channels, acceptance of Chinese payment systems, slippers, kettle and Chinese-style noodles in the rooms, etc. The hotels also need to earn a grade of at least four out of five in CTrip.com’s online quality and reputation reviews by Chinese travellers, and obtain “China Outbound Tourism Quality Service” certification, the only one recognized by the Chinese government.

Meliá has always had excellent relations with travel agents and tour operators given their key role in the tourism value chain, and in 2014 reached a strategic agreement with CTrip, the leading online tour operator in China, which has allowed it offer its international hotels through CTrip, reaching a potential market of 250 million users (CTrip members). The Company estimates that more than 4 million clients will book in Meliá hotels through this channel in 2017.

The agreement brought together one of the leaders of the hotel industry in Europe and a global leader in resort hotels, with the leader of hotel distribution in China, a major step forward in the Meliá roadmap on the Asian continent.

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