Catering to the Dragon: Is the Danish Tourism Sector "China ready"?

Studenteropgave: Kandidatspeciale og HD afgangsprojekt

  • Matias Thuen Jørgensen
4. semester, Turisme, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
In line with the countries economic development Chinese outbound tourism has grown tremendously in recent years, making China the biggest tourism generating country in Asia and one of the biggest in the world, while still growing. This growth has made China an interesting market for tourism industries around the world and Denmark is not an exception. Chinese incoming tourism to Denmark has thus, although coming from a relatively small place, risen with more than 30 percent in 2011, while the numbers for many traditional markets are falling.

Yet, in academic research and mainstream journalism it is often argued that there are unique wants and needs that a destination has to cater to in order to be “China ready” and that conventional marketing knowledge, acquired from research and experiences with Western consumers, does not apply to Chinese tourists. This raises a number of questions in relation to the “China readiness” of the Danish tourism sector and the following three act as the basis for this thesis:

What is needed for the Danish tourism sector to be “China ready” and does the Danish tourism sector currently fulfil these demands?
- What characterises Chinese tourists, what motivates their travel decisions and how can the Danish tourism sector attract them?
- What is the Danish tourism sector’s understanding of incoming Chinese tourism and what visions and strategies does this understanding generate?

16 qualitative interviews, four with Chinese outbound tourism experts and 12 with representatives of the Danish tourism sector as well as an extensive review of more than 30 academic articles on Chinese outbound tourism forms the empirical base of this thesis. This data was investigated using a theoretical framework that consists of push and pull theory, SWOT theory and theory on strategies and visions.

This research can be divided into four parts that each act as an important part of the thesis.

First, the literature review, which apart from acting as a data source also provides results on its own, as it points to weaknesses in the existing literature, gives an overview of the main motivations of Chinese tourists and a chance to present a modified version of Pearce’s travel career model.

Second, a push and pull analysis that combines the results of the literature review with perspectives from four experts on Chinese tourism to answer the question of what it means to be “China ready”. This analysis adds new motivations to the model presented in the review, but the main conclusion from this analysis is that Chinese tourists can be divided into two major segments Group Package Tourists and Independent and/or In-depth Tourists.

Third, a SWOT analysis of the Danish tourism sector’s understanding of incoming Chinese tourism, seen in relation to the results of the previous analysis and the literature review. The most important conclusion from this analysis and discussion is that there is a contradiction between the Danish tourism sector’s interest in incoming Chinese tourism - because of its potential, and their lack of priority given to Chinese tourism - because it is still a small tourist segment in Denmark.

This conclusion was explored further in the fourth and last part of the thesis, which is a discussion of the strategies and visions of the Danish tourism sector in relation to incoming Chinese tourism. Here the pros and cons in attracting Group Package Tourists vs. Independent and/or In-depth Tourists is discussed and it is suggested that a stronger focus on the latter might bring better results than the current exclusive focus on Group Package Tourists. This discussion also indicates that although there seem to be three different strategic approaches – Passive, Pending and Active – to incoming Chinese tourism among the Danish tourism sector representatives, the main strategy of most of the sector is to trust the DMOs to attract the Chinese tourists. This creates a situation where the DMOs posses a triple role which in turn results in a problematic situation where many of the Danish tourism representatives are waiting for Chinese Independent and/or In-depth Tourists to come, while their main marketing strategy is to pay the DMOs to attract Group Package Tourists.

Finally these four segments are concluded with the arguments that for a tourism sector to be “China ready” it needs to be “China invested” and for the Danish tourism sector to be so, it needs to have a stronger focus on the Chinese market, including stronger determination in terms of which segments it wants to attract and better cooperation, in terms of reaching this or these segments.
Udgivelsesdato31 aug. 2012
Antal sider79
ID: 66141473