Local Tourists in Beijing (Photo : Getty Images)
China's Internet tourism services provider Ctrip.com has started implementing its strategy to expand its services in second-, third-, and fourth-tier cities across China as well as integrating its services with Traveling Bestone and Qunar vacation businesses.
According to an article in chinatechnews.com, the China travel provider has opened more than 5,500 retail outlets in 22 provinces and cities all over the country and plans to increase to 6,500 by the end of the year.
The company has 250 million registered members while its app has accumulated about 2.3 downloads. It is ranked first in the country's online outbound travel and China's travel industry, in terms of market share. It is also considered to be the largest online tourism channel in the country.
With the addition of 5,500 integrated stores in different cities across China, the company may likely become the largest offline tourism retailer and services provider in the country.
According to the reports, the Ctrip retail outlets and Traveling Bestone stores can be found mostly in provincial capitals and in more developed second- and third-tier cities. The stores offer consumers tourism consulting and travel booking as well as foreign visa applications.
Earlier this month, Jane Sun, Ctrip CEO, predicted that more Chinese tourists are expected to travel to the U.S. and other countries in the coming years.
Last year, about 1.3 million Chinese tourists visited the U.S. using Ctrip's services such package tours and other tour services.
"People are entrepreneurial in China and want to explore opportunities in other markets. That's why there is a lot of demand for travel from China to Australia, Europe, New Zealand and the U.S. along with other areas," Sun said.
With an emerging middle class with more money to spend, the demand for travel in China is on the rise.
The U.S. looks to China as one of the largest sources of revenue on travel and tourism. In 2014, Chinese tourists spent about $24 billion travel to U.S. cities, parks and other destinations.
Ctrip, which made its initial public offering on the Nasdaq in 2003, has a market valuation of about $25 billion. It has more than 30,000 employees.