Golf in China used to face massive suppression, especially during Mao Zedong’s reign, who qualified the sport as a “Sport for millionaires” turns out he was right. Indeed, practicing Golf isn’t accessible to anybody, a recent poll of millionaires depicted Golf as their favourite sport when abroad.
Scottish Golf Clubs are seizing the opportunity
It is known that Scotland is one of the country with the most astonishing Golf courses, they want to use their potential to get a piece of the (huge) Chinese spending power. Chinese tourists spend on average £770 on a holiday to Scotland, which is £70 more compared to what American tourists spend and it is also more than what tourists from any other nation spend.
The problem is that UK is not part of the European Union’s Schengen agreement, which makes trip there a little tricky for Chinese tourists because they have to fulfill a different application form.
France wins what UK loses!
France receives a lot more visitors than UK, even if Chinese tourists are now more interested in travelling to the UK than France. But a simplified visa procedure has been launched, which is really interesting for British tourism actors, knowing the potential of Chinese outbound market (plus, their interest for Europe).
The number of Chinese visitors in Scotland is steadily increasing to reach 3400 in 2013 for a total of £34 million.
One million golfers pushing boundaries…outside and inside of China
Golf has known a renewed interest from Chinese people, with one million registered golfers wanting to explore their home-country’s potential as a major golf destination. China, the new Scotland for Golf? The trend has just started but it is definitely something worth keeping an eye on!
Scotland wants to market and promote its country and particularly the amazing Highlands region. Scottish Golf courses are always featured on the World’s best golf courses, with famous ones like Castle StuartGolf Links, Royal Dornoch Golf Club, The Nairn Golf Club… Which are also hosting prestigious golf competitions like the Scottish Open, The Walker Cup, The Curtis Cup or the Home Internationals tournament.
Hotel groups are promoting ‘Play and Stay’ packages in the Highlands to encourage a new concept for Chinese tourists, Golf tourism. Golf tourism is already an important contributor to Scotland’s economical model. The market represents annually £220 thousand with a £300 thousand forecast for 2020.
Where do they search for information?
They will mostly look for information on Internet, from the flight to the accommodation fees, the first reflex will be to have a look on what others said before.
As a westerner would use Google, a Chinese tourist will obviously use Baidu to have the information needed. Baidu even launched a service dedicated to trips, Baidu Luyou.
Therefore you need to have a decent website, matching Chinese viewing standards not just a Google translate plugin on your website. A Chinese website translated by Chinese native is a must have here. Check this post for more information
The Word of Mouth (WOM) is very important for Chinese consumers, indeed, they tend to believe more testimonies of real experiences. As they are highly connected and social Medias are the most trusted and viewed Medias in China, they will automatically take in account someone expressing good or bad advices on a destination, or hotel, or flight company…
Online Booking Websites
What is good about these websites is that they mix professionals advices, because they are seen as qualitative websites, and consumers’ experiences. They can also have information on the best places to see, where to eat, etc…
Following a series of scandals in a wide range of sectors, Chinese tend to trust more recommended content from their peers’review, social media discussions and expert’s advices (旅游达人, lvyou daren, the best opinion leaders you can get…detail post about who they are coming this Friday, don’t miss it!)
Let’s sum it up : overview
To market the Golf tourism, Scotland tourism actors should therefore organize a strong presence on the Chinese Web so Chinese consumers can be aware of the activity. They should also make sure to target wealthy consumers.
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