Published on : Wednesday, March 22, 2017
In its new name in Chinese as “Aibiying” (爱彼迎), which translates into “welcome each other with love,”Airbnb is doubling down on China’s rapidly-growing travel sector. The expansion of its trips service and more aid for Mandarin speakers, this new step is definitely going to bring a considerable change in the tourism sector.
Airbnb has had listings in China since at least 2013, but the San Francisco company’s focus has been on outbound travellers coming from China. Now it is investing to increase travel within China by both Chinese and international tourists as well as expanding offerings for the increasing numbers of Chinese seeking to explore the world.
The travel and tourism sector is expected to grow by 7% each year for China in the coming decade and by 2026, it would possibly underpin around 10% of the total Chinese economy and almost 100 million jobs, as World Travel and Tourism Council suggested.
The San Francisco-based company already has 80,000 listings within China, which have been visited by almost 1.6 million guests, according to the company. Henry Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group, a San Francisco-based travel industry research company said that Airbnb is smart to pursue expansion in China because as its middle class grows and as both rail and air travel make intercity access easier and more affordable, more people will want to travel and be able to travel.
With plans to add round-the-clock access to customer support in Mandarin Chinese, the new venture will almost triple the number of people it has working in China.
It will also launch its Trips service in Shanghai which would eventually allow hosts and others to offer individual and small group outings to experience an area or activity for visitors that they normally wouldn’t have access to. in its budding stage, it is working with cities to help visitors pick neighborhoods of interest to stay in.
Airbnb has also moved to storing its Chinese data in China to comply with new digital security laws that will go into effect there in the summer.
More than 5.3 million Chinese have stayed at Airbnb listings worldwide and has been a loyal market source for Airbnb outside of China. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, Chinese tourists spent $215 billion in 2015. With the rise in personalised travel choices, the rest is left to time to see how it works out.