Chinese tourism in France
Atout France Actively Promotes French Tourism on Chinese Digital Platforms
The Weibo official account of Atout France has attracted 1.6 million followers with 6,125 posts in total and an active posting frequency of 1-3 posts per day. It has been sharing a wide range of topics about France, including views, food, history, travelling tips, exhibitions and events information, to interact with Chinese audience and promote Chinese tourism in France.
The top 5 hottest posts are all related to the new Paris tourism ambassador, including the endorsement of a C-pop boy group. This shows celebrity endorsement and KOL marketing can effectively boost awareness in the tourism industry, especially among young travelers like Generation-Z.
The Atout France official Weibo account has a high engagement of its follower. They posted interactive dialogue, “Do you know the story behind Le Moulin Rouge?”, voting on “What’s your favorite sea food in Plateau de fruits de mer” and offered incentives through a lucky draw to encourage followers to comment and repost, thus enhancing follower engagement.
Baidu Analysis of Chinese Tourism in France through Chinese perception of French cities
Marseille is a relatively popular travel destination for Chinese people. Chinese travelers show interest in its natural views and outdoor activities, and they relate it to a lot of famous French literature, such as The Count of Monte Cristo. Marseille is also well-known for its football club, Olympique de Marseille.
To distinguish the search result of Marseille and a Chinese actress who share the same Chinese name, we use “法国马赛” (France Marseille) as the search word in Baidu index. It is mostly related to other popular travel destinations in France such as Paris and Lyon. People usually go to multiple cities when they travel to France and they like to compare and contrast Marseille with other famous cities or do research about how to travel from other cities to Marseille beforehand.
Lyon is also a well-known French city among Chinese people. Information about universities in Lyon such as their rankings, applications and courses takes up most of the top search results. As a travel destination, Lyon’s art, food and architecture are most attractive for Chinese people. Chinese people are developing a stronger interest in football, hence they are also interested in its football club, Olympique Lyonnais.
Nice gains high search volume on Baidu platform. It is another popular travel destination which is usually connected with sunshine and beach. The football club, OGC Nice, is also shown in the search result. The peak in the search index appeared when the Nice truck attack of 2016.
The relative keywords are also mostly other travel destinations such as Monaco and Lyon. Since Monaco and Lyon are close to Nice, Chinese travelers usually visit them together.
Bordeaux has the highest number of search results on Baidu platform which are mostly related to wine. More and more Chinese tourists in France and Europe are visiting wine vineyards. In addition to Bordeaux wine, the travel guide and football club are also highly-ranked in the search results. The daily search index has been stable with some minor ups and downs in the last 4 years.
The top 3 relative keywords are Gavotte Wine, the wine producer, Cabernet Sauvignon, the one of the most recognized red wine grape varieties, and Bordeaux Mixture which are used as a fungicide in vineyards.
Strasbourg is a relatively unknown city among Chinese with limited search result. It is known as an important port city in France especially for people working in international trading industry. It is also a travel destination chosen by some niche Chinese travelers, who are usually interested in its French and German mixed culture, Christmas fair and European Parliament. The RC Strasbourg Alsace football club also contributed to Chinese people’s awareness of this city.
Chinese people are less aware of Nantes, which can be shown in the small search volume. Its best known for the University of Nantes and the FC Nantes football club also caught Chinese people’s attention. Travelers who choose to visit Nantes are usually attracted by its history and quietness.
Versailles is known by Chinese people not only as a city in France but also as a French historical fiction TV series set during the construction of the Palace of Versailles during the region of Louis XIV. The TV series has gained large popularity in China which has accounted for the main search volume and Chinese audience are attracted by its historical stories, magnificent views, fine clothing and accessories. For traveling, Chinese people are mostly only aware of the Palace of Versailles and frequently searched for the travel information such as transportation from Paris and tickets.
When people search Versailles on Baidu, the relative keywords have high correlation with its history including the Palace of Versailles, Louis XIV and the Treaty of Versailles.
What you should know about Chinese tourism in France
Along with much of Chinese consumption, Chinese tourism in France is also experiencing a consumption upgrade, with more focus on experience, niche destinations, and customized tourism. How can a tourism board effectively reach these increasingly sophisticated travelers? Digital marketing is an effective channel, but there are so many platforms to choose from. In combination with a KOL marketing strategy, niche and lesser-known cities in France can put themselves on the radar for Chinese travelers. As demonstrated by the success of Atout France’s digital strategy, Weibo is one platform that can be used. However, Xiaohongshu can also be used to promote destinations including stores, restaurants, and hotels. WeChat is also not to be overlooked, not only running a WeChat account for promotion, but also local vendors can set up WeChat pay for Chinese tourists in France.