Expecting 130,000 Chinese Tourists

Vala Hafstað

The number of Chinese tourists in Iceland is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years, Morgunblaðið reports. This year, no less than 130,000 of them are expected to visit the country, thereby replacing Germans as the third most numerous group of tourists to visit the country. In 2018, 90,000 Chinese tourists visited Iceland and stayed on average six nights in the country.

What characterizes Chinese tourists, according to Sarah Chu, a specialist at the Nordic Business House in Sweden, is that they have a tendency to stay for a relatively long time, explore the country extensively and spend proportionally more of the travel funds on goods and at restaurants than do visitors from other countries.

She will be giving a lecture in Iceland on Wednesday at an event organized by the Chinese Embassy, the Icelandic Travel Industry Association and Promote Iceland, focusing on the best way to receive Chinese tourists.

Chu states that this group of tourists has to be approached in a different way than do other nationalities, since they use their own apps and websites. Chinese authorities have closed access to Google and Facebook, which is why they were replaced by the search engine Baidu and the social media Weibo and WeChat, to name a few.

Being visible on these Chinese media makes a difference for businesses interested in attracting Chinese customers. In terms of payment options, Chinese tourists prefer using Chinese ones, such as Alipay or WeChat Pay, both of which allow them to make a payment with their smartphone.

Chinese tourists make up two different types of groups: those who take organized guided tours and those who travel independently. In 2018, 70 percent of Chinese tourists chose organized guided tours, but that ratio is expected to decrease as Chinese tourists become more experienced travelers.

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