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China forecast to be among the largest of Club Med's markets

By ZHANG LINWAN in Lijiang, Yunnan | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-06-10 08:12
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Club Med Lijiang in Yunnan province. CHINA DAILY

Club Med, a French resort operator, expects to make China one of its largest markets in terms of tourist visits in the coming two years.

If everything goes as hoped, the Chinese market will be equal to that of France by 2025, said Xu Bingbin, CEO of Club Med China.

Currently, the group is operating nine resorts across China including those in Beijing's Yanqing district, Qinhuangdao in Hebei province and Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

"In 2010 when Club Med opened its first resort in China, we received 20,000 Chinese visits globally. Just nine years later, in 2019, China had become our second-largest source market in the world, with annual visits of 250,000," the senior executive said.

He added that the number is predicted to reach 340,000 to 350,000 this year.

Club Med saw a robust rebound in its turnover during the May Day holiday, from April 29 to May 3, which increased by about 110 percent in comparison with the same period of 2019.

The group is confident about a rise in visits in the second half of this year, as it is planning to open three new resorts in China located in Taicang and Nanjing's Xianlin area in Jiangsu province as well as Heilongtan town in Sichuan province.

The two new resorts in Taicang and Heilongtan are under the product line Club Med Joyview, which is designed for short-haul travel, and the Xianlin Nanjing resort will be Club Med's first city hotel in China, under its new product line Club Med Urban Oasis, according to the group.

"China is a highly competitive market, so we built resorts not only near scenic areas but in cities' outskirts in a bid to expand our presence and attract more guests," Xu said.

Club Med is expecting a stronger recovery in outbound tourism in the next six months.

"Most of our outbound tourists travel to Club Med resorts in Japan, the Maldives and Southeast Asian nations. However, we have not yet returned to the 2019 level, as direct flights between China and these destinations are still in recovery," Xu said.

Club Med now owns nearly 70 resorts in 26 countries and regions around the world.

In May, the resort operator announced its new slogan "That's L'Esprit Libre", transforming itself from a travel brand into a lifestyle-oriented brand.

"Not just a brand image and brand positioning from a global perspective, we will upgrade our products and expand the guest portfolio," Xu said. "In China, most of our guests are from the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen," he said. "For new first-tier cities such as Nanjing, Wuhan in Hubei province and Chengdu in Sichuan province, we will continue to raise our brand awareness."

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