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- Published on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 14:33
By Signe Jungersted, Project Manager, Wonderful Copenhagen
In the wake of the results of the Chinavia pilot project, Chinavia II aims to make Copenhagen and Scandinavia more appealing and welcoming to Chinese travellers with ‘adaptation’ as the main starting point.
On 23 August 2013, the Little Mermaid celebrated her 100th birthday on a rock by Langelinje in Copenhagen. On that special occasion, a new sign by Danish artist Erik Bagger was revealed next to the Mermaid statue. It details the history of the statue and the fairy tale, which inspired it, in three different languages: Danish, English and Chinese. By choosing Chinese as one of three languages on the new sign next to one of Copenhagen’s main tourist attractions, the celebration of the Little Mermaid not only marked 100 years of history, but also the coming years of global change. Already the early tides of change have begun.
Chinese language is becoming increasingly widespread as more and more Chinese are venturing abroad for travel, business, and study. By 2015, the number of Chinese outbound travellers is expected to exceed 100 million. This growth in Chinese tourists has also been experienced first-hand in Copenhagen. By the end of 2012, the Capital Region of Copenhagen had seen a growth of 38 pct. in Chinese bed nights and the first six months of 2013 give every reason to expect another record-breaking year with a 43 pct. increase in Chinese bed nights to Copenhagen from January to June 2013.
Improvements are needed
In recognition of the huge Chinese market potential, Wonderful Copenhagen initiated the Chinavia Pilot Project in 2012. The main objective was to gain more knowledge of the Chinese tourists to Copenhagen and Scandinavia and secure a firm research base for strategic action in targeting the Chinese travel market. As part of the pilot project, Wonderful Copenhagen carried out a survey of 678 Chinese visitors to Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm in August 2012. Tourists were asked of their motivation for travelling, their digital travel habits, and their impression of Scandinavia and the city being surveyed. The results were unequivocal: Chinese tourists have strong affection for Copenhagen and the Scandinavian destinations, yet they experience great barriers of both language and culture, calling for more and better Chinese information, especially in digital format (mobile and web). In addition, Copenhagen and the other Scandinavian destinations have been last in class in terms of communicating with the Chinese consumers online. The Scandinavian destinations are near invisible as travel destinations on China’s internet landscape. Finally, the welcoming and service to Chinese tourists in Copenhagen and our neighbouring Scandinavian destinations need to improve tremendously, if we are to sustain or even gain market share in the fierce competition with continental destinations. The conclusion of the Chinavia pilot project is therefore simple: We need to gear up and get ready – China ready!
Adapting to the Chinese
To achieve this, Wonderful Copenhagen has taken lead in a new project: Chinavia II. The Chinavia II is a Scandinavian cooperation project financed by partner contributions and interregional EU funds. The main purpose of the project is to make Copenhagen and Scandinavia more appealing and welcoming to Chinese travellers. The starting point of the project activities is ‘adaptation’, i.e. adapting services, products, and communication to the Chinese recipients to ensure our position in the global competition to attract the attention of Chinese consumers. With a total budget of DKK 16.4 mio, Chinavia II will:
• Facilitate China crash courses for service personnel of hotels, museums, attractions etc. in direct contact with Chinese guests to ensure a better and more smooth service encounter;
• Develop and produce Chinese language tourist information materials, both in print and digital format (mobile apps and platforms) to make the authentic Copenhagen experience more accessible and available to Chinese visitors;
• Develop a strong online presence in China’s online landscape to inspire Chinese consumers before their travel decision, to provide them with information for their travel planning both before and during their Scandinavian sojourn, and finally to encourage the Chinese travellers to share their experiences in Chinese social media during their travels and upon return to China.
As part of the Chinavia II, Wonderful Copenhagen will oversee the development of both a Chinese web portal for Scandinavia and a Chinese version of visitcopenhagen’s website. Social media channels will be incorporated in both websites, and Copenhagen will engage actively with Chinese netizens on social media channels like Sina Weibo, Weixin, and Youku.