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Rising Chinese tourism has been a much-ballyhooed topic in the travel industry lately. At this point, we’ve all heard how due to rising disposable incomes and relaxed travel rules, China’s outbound tourism will skyrocket to over 100 million Chinese people next year, how China has overtaken both the US and Germany in tourism spending at $102 billion USD last year, and how important it is to make sure your business is China ready.

Most known is the “who”, the “what”, the “where”, and the “why”, but what’s often overlooked is the “when.” When do Chinese people travel the most? With the annual number of Chinese tourists traveling at an all time high, this perhaps seems insignificant, but in order to prepare your company for peak Chinese tourism, this detail is crucial, so it’s important to know a little more about the holiday culture.

Since vacation days are much more regulated in China, travel times tend to be clustered around a few specific times a year. Imagine giving 1.3 billion people holiday at the same time. That’s a lot of people traveling, which leads to situations like:

(via Offbeat China/Weibo)

Peak 1: Holidays – Spring Festival/Chinese New Year (Janurary/February) and National Week (first week in October)

As a result, many choose to travel abroad to beat the crowds. But China’s tourists don’t travel during the traditional December or Easter holidays. For Chinese travelers, the two longest official holidays for travel are the Spring Festival/Chinese New Year and National Day Week.

And take advantage of it, they do! Shanghai’s Pudong and Hongqiao airports handled more than 8.5 million travelers in the 2012 Spring Festival – more than 10% of their total annual traffic. During these holidays, people travel, go out to restaurants, and shop, resulting in a boost to the economy, hence the moniker, “Golden Week.” Recently, more and more businesses spend weeks before the Chinese New Year promoting limited edition items, sales, and promotions, but “Golden Week” isn’t just limited to the new year, or even China. In October 2012, Chinese tourists accounted for 35% of the total purchases in The Village, Westfield London’s luxury quarter.

Peak 2: Summer

Of course there’s the summer holiday as well. In China, the summer is the most popular time to travel, but since there isn’t an official vacation, it’s ignored by businesses who tend to notice only the glitz and images of thronging tourists during the Chinese New Year and National Week. On Sina Weibo , China’s leading social media platform, summer has the highest volume of travel-related posts on Chinese social media:

Take advantage of China’s “Golden Weeks” by reaching out to and preparing your business for an influx of Chinese tourists during these time periods. Creating Chinese language pages, launching on social media, and even hiring Chinese-speaking concierges are some of the steps that businesses ranging from upscale shopping malls to entire countries have taken to woo Chinese tourists. A presence in Chinese social media is key in getting your brand recognized, creating traffic to your business and engaging Chinese tourists.

Make sure you’re part of the conversation with KAWO, a Shanghai-based startup whose technology takes your existing Facebook and Twitter social media content, translates and localizes it before putting it on Chinese social media.

This content is created collaboratively in partnership with our sponsor, KAWO.

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