China is a giant in the international tourism market where neither Spain nor Andalucía have achieved the desired level of business.
Breaking into this market is an issue that the Junta de Andalucía now plans to address, due to the volume of potential tourists and the high level of spending.
The Junta’s tourism department has signed a collaboration agreement with the EU SME Center, a European Union initiative that offers practical support to small and medium-sized companies to do business in the Chinese market.
The objective is to address the knowledge gaps in the country in order to provide Andalusian companies in the tourism sector with tools that will better prepare them for entering this market.
Among the activities planned are seminars, individual consultation services and support in future trade missions.
The regional government explains that "the EU SME Center, funded by the European Union, has a team of experts who offer SMEs advice and support in four areas, such as business development, legislation, standards and compliance and human resources."
Before the start of the pandemic, more than a thousand tourists from China stayed each month in hotels in Malaga city according to the data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE). In 2019, in the city alone, there were 14,855 Chinese travellers who booked more than 18,600 hotel nights, from where they usually made trips to Ronda and Mijas.
These are travellers with a high purchasing power usually travel in groups and stop on the Costa del Sol as part of a holiday itinerary of the main Spanish cities. Hence, they are also frequent users of the AVE high-speed train that connects with Madrid.
However, Malaga airport was the main entry point for travellers from all over Asia to Andalucía as Turkish Airlines had up to two daily flights between the Costa del Sol and Istanbul, which acts as a 'hub' with numerous Chinese airports.