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Alitrip to bring 50,000 Chinese to visit Rovaniemi in 2017

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11/1/2016 8:00 AM

Alibaba, a giant Chinese e-commerce company, rebranded its travel booking website as Alitrip. This largest online travel agency announced in Rovaniemi on October 27 that it aims to fly six to eight million Chinese tourists to Europe in 2020.

Most of them will travel via Helsinki, since Alitrip plans to use Finland as a stepping stone to European countries. A part of the tourist flow will turn to Lapland. Alitrip already plans to bring 50,000 Chinese tourists to Rovaniemi next year.

Rovaniemi recorded 17,000 overnight stays of Chinese travellers last year. If all the Alitrip’s Chinese customers were to spend two nights each, the number of overnight stays would reach 100,000 next year. These would be wild numbers for Lapland, but just a small deal for Alitrip.

“50,000 is a very small number for us,” said Alibaba Group Marketing Director Chris Tung.

Alitrip is already operating in Finland. Last summer it made a co-operation deal with Finnair and the first customers will arrive to Lapland in September. This winter Alitrip will bring 3,000 Chinese customers to Lapland.

The Chinese are interested in the pristine nature and clean air and water of Lapland. Most important though are the auroras. They are the reason Alibaba chose to bring their customers to Europe via Finland, said Tung.

“When something becomes popular in China, people go completely crazy. Every Chinese must see the auroras. If this comes to happen, there will be stellar amounts of travellers,” said Tung.

Alitrip’s goals sound grand, but so is the Chinese tourism. According to the company, 120 million Chinese travelled abroad last year. They spent 100 billion euros. According to Alitrip’s calculations, within five years the Chinese will account for 200 million international travellers.

Last year, the Chinese brought 132 million euros of travel income to Finland. This year the number is seen to rise beyond 200 million euros.
Earlier, most of trips abroad made by the Chinese were group travels. Now, autonomous trips are taking the lead.

A new generation of travellers with purchasing power and courage to try things is coming. For them, Alitrip fits like a glove. It’s an online store and mobile connections are used for everything in China.

City Rovaniemi-Finland Times Report