Ctrip isn't pursuing U.S. travelers aggressively yet, but it will. The Trip.com deal was small, but might be seen as an early indicator.
Ctrip co-founder and chairman James Liang said the Shanghai-based online travel agency isn’t focusing on U.S. travelers yet, but he implied it’s forthcoming.
“If they come to Asia, we usually have the best products,” said Liang in an interview with CNBC at Davos on Wednesday, referring to U.S. travelers headed to Asia. “We certainly have the deepest product coverage and the most competitive prices. The U.S.-to-China, U.S.-to-Asia demand has been very healthy for Ctrip and this part of the market is growing.”
He said Ctrip was not targeting the domestic U.S. market — “yet.”
“We are doing so well in outbound travel in many markets, not just in the U.S. — in Asia and Europe,” said Liang. “We are doing very well in Hong Kong and Korea, in Japan.”
Ctrip is known as an avid acquirer, both in Asia and abroad.
Ctrip acquired three U.S. tour operators in October 2016, and then in December 2016, bought Scotland-based flight search engine Skyscanner. In November 2017, Ctrip bought U.S.-based Trip.com and soon thereafter Ctrip relaunched its English-language website as Trip.com. Some of these moves highlight Ctrip’s desire to increase its global footprint and make further inroads in the U.S.
The company continues to prioritize Chinese outbound travelers — according to CNBC, six million Chinese citizens traveled to Europe alone in 2017. Liang said, “Chinese outbound tourists have always been the fastest growing segment of the worldwide market.”
CNBC’s segment on Ctrip is available here.
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Photo credit: Ctrip co-founder and chairman James Liang discussed the U.S. travel market at Davos on January 24, 2018. Ctrip's headquarters is in Shanghai. 185204