An easier visa regime for Chinese visitors to London is one of the reasons why high speed train operator Eurostar is launching its first-ever campaign specifically targetting Chinese tourists.
It is running a promotion on Weibo, the Chinese micro-blogging site which, at the last count, had more than 150 million active monthly users.
The campaign sits is part of the "Eurostar Stories" intitiative, which uses social media to highlight narratives around its key destinations of London, Paris and Brussels.
Chinese students in London and Paris are invited to upload a ten-second video to Weibo about London or Paris. Ten clips will be selected and the person shooting the video will get professional help to expand the clip into a fully-scripted professionally shot and directed one-minute short film.
These ten videos will be shown on the www.eurostar-stories.com microsite, and also on Weibo. Users of both sites are then asked to vote, and the winner will get free tickets on Eurostar.
The campaign is being run with the help of ChinaContact, a strategic and creative agency working with travel brands interested in the Chinese market.
Its managing director Roy Graff told Tnooz:
"Chinese students studying in London and Paris not only have a disposable income but also already have a visa in place so it easy for them to take a short trip overseas.
"They are a clearly defined demographic, and they use Weibo rather than Facebook and Twitter. Weibo is how they connect with their Chinese friends in Europe but also their family and friends back home, where they are seen as influencers."
The campaign will be marketed through Weibo, although it will done through ChinaContact's partners retweeting and reposting links from Weibo accounts to the campaign web site, rather than through Weibo's official advertising platform because "it isn't that effective." It is using WeChat accounts as well.
Partners include overseas student magazine GBMag and Chinese marketing agency HereinUK. Freshers' Week events are also part of the plan.
ChinaContact has done some market research for Eurostar so has a database of Chinese student email addresses which will also be used to raise awareness.
The ten-second shorts need to be uploaded by October 3.
Traveller image via Shutterstock