T&L：What is the performance of the Chinese market in 2018? What are the surprising and highlights in 2018?
Mr. Jean-Marc Mocellin：The total number of Chinese visitors to New Caledonia in Q1 & 2 of 2018 was 536 (Jan. 35 Feb. 277 Mar. 93 Apr. 40 May. 45 Jun.46), a surge comparing with the performance in 2017.
The NCTPS has cooperated with Caissa to launch the Charter Flight New Caledonia Trip for twice in 2018. Guests who participated in the groups took the direct flight from China to New Caledonia, and received the warm welcome reception from NCTPS. And there will be a third one to be launched on February 5th in 2019.
NCTPS has launched a global KOL campaign called Caledonian Dream, recruiting 6 KOLs from different markets worldwide to experience New Caledonia for free. Ethan Li has represented China market to join the dream trip. A post sharing conference, where Ethan shared his fabulous photographs and stories to media, was held in Shanghai in September 2018.
New Caledonia has taken a successful step in China market by well-developing its social network in 2018. The followers of its official accounts on Weibo and WeChat took a leap-forward growth. What is worth mentioning is that the views of hashtag #Discover New Caledonia# on Weibo has reached 2.78 Million.
NCTPS has established its Chinese official website https://www.newcaledoniatravel.cn/ for offering Chinese visitors multi-access to collect more information about New Caledonia.
With efforts and implementations from NCTPS throughout 2018, Chinese audience has commonly raised the awareness about New Caledonia, which would be obviously seen in some cases. One year ago, when searching “New Caledonia” on Baidu, only two relevant articles were shown in total. Today, however, affluent information about the destination could be searched on the engine, where you can find various experiences and stories about traveling in New Caledonia. The enhancement of the acceptance from Chinese audience is definitely comforting and surprising.
T&L：What are the new characteristics and changes of Chinese travelers' travel preferences in 2018 (destination, hotel, mode of travel, length of trip, cost, etc.)? Will the proportion of in-depth travel and leisure travel continue to increase? Will there be any adjustments to these changes in products and services in 2019?
Mr. Jean-Marc Mocellin：More and more Chinese visitors are now discovering the less-known regions as their destinations, especially the brand new islands, and New Caledonia is one of them.
Chinese visitors are new trending to attach more importance on experiences during their trip. The traditional travel mode like simply shopping and visiting has been gradually abandoned. Instead, comfort and safety are what Chinese visitors seeking for.
The in-depth travel and leisure travel demands is increasing and we believe it will constantly grow in the future, which has been demonstrated in the Chinese tourists behaviour so far.
NCTPS will keep improving its services and facilities according to Chinese tourists’ characteristics, as enhancing the their experiences in New Caledonia is our ultimate purpose.
T&L：Does the proportion of FIT continue to expand? What improvements have been made in terms of products and services for FIT?
Mr. Jean-Marc Mocellin：NCTPS is paying efforts to continuously expand the FIT proportion. A series of implementations have been done in 2018. We have published the Chinese guiding brochure for Chinese visitors in New Caledonia. And some of the local hotels now offer the chopsticks, toothbrush, and even the instant noodles especially for Chinese guests. Besides, we are also actively progressing the visa-free policy for independent visitors.
T&L：Are AI and big data used in destination marketing? What's the effect? How will we continue to move forward?
Mr. Jean-Marc Mocellin：Big data is well utilized in the travel marketing currently, no exclusion for New Caledonia. We have resorted to the big data for guiding our strategies in marketing. We will keep developing the benefits from AI and big data to realize more effective ways for promoting the destination.
T&L：Will new cities or regions be promoted in the Chinese market in 2019? What is the purpose of promoting these new cities and regions?
Mr. Jean-Marc Mocellin：More outlying islands are planed to be promoted in 2019. Iles Loyaute is one of them, where the invited KOLs have already landed on and experienced the engaging activities as diving the this year. In 2018, New Caledonia is entering the marketing, a period the destination is promoting its most distinctive attractions to Chinese visitors. And we are expecting to demonstrate a holistic New Caledonia by introducing more sites step by step.
T&L：Are there any promotional themes in 2018? What's the effect? Will there be new promotional themes in 2019? What are the supporting measures for the new promotion theme?
Mr. Jean-Marc Mocellin：In 2018, the overall introduction of the destination, the Lagoons, the French vibe gastronomy, the outdoors etc were the promotional themes. And Chinese audience has arouse their awareness about New Caledonia initially.
Next year, “A perfect GETAWAY of achieving 5 WORLDS in 1 TRIP with French Vibe, you can have it all in one.” would be our main positioning. Themes like “City Life with French Vibe”, “LOHAS & Nature”, “Exotic Culture & Heritage” etc would be our promotional themes in 2019.
T&L：What are the biggest difficulties that may be encountered in 2019? Are there any corresponding countermeasures?
Mr. Jean-Marc Mocellin：There are two major obstacles for tourism of New Caledonia in China market. One is the that there is no direct flight between China and New Caledonia. Long flying journey including shifting flights in Japan or Australia decreases the accessibility of New Caledonia badly. The other one is that currently only group has the qualification of visa-free. We are pushing the policy of complete visa free policy for independent visitors.
T&L：What are your expectations for the performance in 2019?
Mr. Jean-Marc Mocellin：2019 is the “China-Pacific Island Countries Tourism Year”. NCTPS is ready for taking this opportunity to further develop in the China market. New Caledonia is expected to be shifted from a “less-known island destination” to a “ideal resort attracting numerous island enthusiasts”. And the tourism in New Caledonia is expected to be more China Ready and further develop its experiences and facilities for Chinese visitors.