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Tourism Industry Update

Taiwan Outbound Departure Statistics by Destination, January-February 2020

  1. Due to coronavirus pandemic, Taiwanese went abroad 603,211 times in February 2020, down 58.93% from the 1,468,616 trips taken in February 2019.
  2. In comparison with a year earlier, travel to the top three destinations was a decline, the number of departures to Japan fell 45.50%, were down 43.98% to Korea, and drop 25.33%  to Vietnam.
  3. Most destinations outbound travel generally fell in the first 2 months of 2020 from a year earlier. Only departures to Brunei, Unites Kingdom and New Zealand were growth.
  4. The number of departures to China fell 86.84%, were down 86.23% to Hong Kong and drop 100% to Italy, because of  the travel ban.

Source: Tourism Bureau, MOTC Visitor Statistical Analysis for February, 2020

Travel Workers among Most Vulnerable amid COVID-19

Image/ILO, Manager Today

The new coronavirus pandemic is posing major challenges to all businesses, especially in the aviation, tourism and hospitality industries, with a real threat of significant declines in revenue and job losses, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has said.

In a report dated March 18, the ILO estimated nearly 25 million jobs could be lost globally because of the pandemic, more than the 22 million lost during the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. Based on three scenarios simulating different impacts (low, medium and high) of the virus on global growth, the ILO estimated rises in unemployment of 5.3 million (low impact), 13 million (medium impact) and 24.7 million (high impact).

The report said that while the estimates remain highly uncertain, all of the scenarios indicated a substantial rise in global unemployment, which will likely translate into major downward adjustments to wages and working hours.  

The services, tourism, travel and retail sectors are particularly vulnerable, the report said. The World Trade and Tourism Council has forecast that international arrivals could decline by 25% in 2020, putting millions of jobs at risk. To address the trend, governments are offering financial support in the form of subsidies, loan guarantees and other measures to specific sectors to keep them afloat.

Source: Manager Today, MSN

NT$50 Billion Package Set to Help Aviation Sector

Image/Commercial Times

Taiwan’s government has established the country’s biggest rescue package for a single industry since the onset of the novel coronavirus outbreak. It asked the Bankers Association to draft a rescue plan for the aviation sector and on March 27 met with top executives of eight major state-controlled banks to finalize plans for the initiative. They set the value of the package at NT$50 billion (US$1.65 billion), mostly loans, and authorized the Small & Medium Enterprise Credit Guarantee Fund of Taiwan to guarantee up to 80% of the loans.

Unlike other bailout packages announced by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, this is the first directed at providing relief to a single industry and will cover the EVA Air Group, China Airlines and subsidiary Tigerair Taiwan, and recently established Starlux Airlines. Beyond airlines, airport ground handling enterprises, airline catering services and other peripheral aviation businesses can also apply for assistance under the package.

Source: Commercial Times

Key 2020s Trend: Technologyto Simplify Travel

A new survey by a digital travel platform has identified three “new travel norms” in this decade: single apps for all travel needs, passport-free travel, and mobile app check-ins. In other words, technology is expected to have a positive effect in the future and will change how people choose travel destinations and the ways they travel. Those technology advances and revolutionary travel apps will likely bring with them higher expectations among users of their travel experience in the future.

Roughly half of the survey’s respondents in Southeast Asia and Taiwan – Taiwan (50%), Indonesia (56%), Singapore (54%), Malaysia (53%), Philippines (48%) and Thailand (48%) – see this as the norm in the coming decade, much higher than the third of respondents who feel the same way in the United Kingdom and United States. “The 2000s was defined by the mouse and the computer, putting online travel booking just a click away. The 2010s was defined by the smartphone and app and put a travel agent in the pocket of every phone owner, and the 2020s will be defined by the power of data and AI. This will enable companies to provide personalized, more relevant recommendations to make booking travel even easier,” said Timothy Hughes, an executive with Agoda, which did the survey.

The study found people everywhere wanting to increase their travel in the 2020s. Some 40% (37% in Taiwan) want to explore more of their own country, and 35% (48% in Taiwan) want to travel abroad more often. With climate change a hot topic, more than a quarter of respondents (21% in Taiwan) want to make more eco-friendly choices in the coming decade.

Source: CNA, Money UDN

A Look Back – Late Japanese Comedian’s Taiwan Ads

The death of famed Japanese comedian Ken Shimura from the novel coronavirus on March 29 was reported around the world. Looking back at the ads he made to promote tourism in Taiwan reminds us how much he will be missed. In 2002, Shimura and actor Takeshi Kaneshiro made a series of ads for Japan Asia Airways, and their warm, down-to-earth style and content full of “Taiwanese flavor” sparked “Taiwan fever” among Japanese audiences.

In one of the JAA travel ads, Kaneshiro is riding a bicycle with Shimura on the back, and they cruise through small lanes and alleyways. As they pass by a small food stand, Shimura abruptly tells Kaneshiro to stop, hoping to be able to try a pepper bun. They are then seen on a ferry at Fisherman’s Wharf in Tamsui enjoying a tour of the river while snacking on  a steaming hot pepper bun. Kaneshiro praises Shimura as a true “Taiwanese,” and Shimura smiles proudly.

Source: Liberty Times Net

Star Travel to Be Sold to ‘Argo Yacht’ Entrepreneur

Argo Yacht Club founder Hou Yu-lin has agreed to buy a 53% stake in Star Travel for NT$5.1 per share, or about NT$53 million. Many wonder why Hou would delve into the travel business when it has been so badly hurt by the coronavirus epidemic. Argo Yacht Club was founded in 2014 to provide yacht renting, berthing and management services and yacht operation training and certification. It currently has 480 members, including many wealthy Taiwanese. Hou is hoping he can leverage his yacht clientele and Star Travel resources to package domestic trips during the epidemic or develop travel products appealing to the middle class.

Itineraries include day trips on a sailboat to the four islands of southern Penghu, or two-day boating excursions to Qimei and Wangan townships in Penghu, Green Island, the Pratas Islands, Taiping Island or even Japan. Because cruise liners have been temporarily shut down for the near term by the pandemic, smaller yachts can fill the opening. A private sailboat with a capacity of 10 passengers, for example, can take go to Ishigaki island for a cost of about NT$60,000 per person, and people can shop on Ishigaki without any weight restrictions and buy superheated steam ovens or 10 kilos of wagyu beef.                

Source: Wealth Magazine

Some Maldives Resorts Now ‘Quarantine Centers’

The Maldives government is turning luxury resorts into isolation centers as the threat of the new coronavirus mounts, hoping to insulate this remote country in the Indian Ocean from the virus. At the same time, however, the global pandemic has dealt a serious blow to the country’s tourism sector, the cornerstone of Maldives’ economy.

According to a Nikkei Asian Review report, Maldives Tourism Minister Ali Waheed revealed the new containment strategy after 13 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed. Maldives media said all of the coronavirus patients in the country are foreign nationals, with some tourists and others workers.

Waheed said 10 resorts, offering 1,158 rooms and 2,228 beds, will be used for the global public health emergency. Among the properties involved in the measure are Fun Island Resort, Holiday Island Resort and Royal Island Resort. 

Source: Nikkei Asian Review, Liberty Times Net

Market Watch

Google Art Project: Taking You to the World’s Great Museums 

Image/Google Arts and Culture

You can now stay at home and not only stay informed on what’s happening around the world but also tour the world’s most famous art galleries and museums. Much as Google initially saw itself as a portal offering access to all of the world’s websites, it is now working to compile collections from all of the world’s major museums on the Google Art Project website. The project uses high-resolution image technology to preserve famous works of art and give access to people to browse and appreciate it online at any time.

Google Street View has steadily expand its services recently, such as offering cherry blossom tours during Japan’s cherry blossom season or creating Street View University to get a look at universities around the world. The Google Art Project functions as though Street View cars drive into museums and immerse users in their galleries. The Google Art Project made some major upgrades last month to expand its content to works from 1,200 museums, including paintings, sculptures and architectural works.

All of the artworks in the project can be enjoyed in high-resolution, saving the expense of having to fly overseas or the hassle of fighting crowds to get a close look at a work. Users can also use the Street View method to tour museums and enjoy works from different angles.

Taiwan’s National Palace Museum is now on Google Art Project; just go on your browser to enjoy displays of NPM  collections.

All of the works in Google Art Project can be magnified to see  every small detail. In the image to the left, for example, one can see  the inscription on the Ding cauldron of Duke Mao.
Image/Google Arts and Culture
The home page of Google Art Project enables users to use a mouse to enlarge or shrink the scope of the image, and the inset image shows the part of the work currently focused on.
Image/Google Arts and Culture

To help art and history lovers access their favorite works, Google has provided a menu of 10 must-see virtual museums:

  1. The British Museum, London
  2. Guggenheim Museum, New York
  3. Musée d’Orsay, Paris
  4. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
  5. Pergamon Museum, Berlin
  6. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
  7. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  8. Uffizi Gallery, Florence
  9. MASP, São Paulo
  10. National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City

Source: FLiPER

UsingInstagram’s 202o Algorithm to Build a Fan Base

Instagram announced it would adjust its algorithm in 2020. Here’s a look at the latest algorithm and how to decode and outsmart it.

5 Official Facts about the IG Algorithm

  1. Algorithm continues to be improved and updated
    How often will an “algorithm” change? IG says the algorithm mechanism is constantly adapting and improving based on new data.
  2. Videos, photos have the same odds of appearing on newsfeeds 
    Instagram decides what kind of content to provide based on user preferences rather than simply feeding large numbers of videos. Photos and videos are even when vying for exposure; what remains important is the content itself rather than the form of the content.
  3. Fake interactions are identified by the algorithm
    Fake interactions (such as using bots or comment pods) will be identified and ranked as such by IG’s machine learning algorithm
  4. That comments or private messages are short does not mean they will not be counted by the algorithm
    Comments or private messages of even one word in length are counted as engagement by the algorithm, the company said. Simply put, as long as an interaction or comment is authentic, the algorithm will accept it.
  5. Instagram’s impact ranking does not favor posts from certain account types
    To IG, it is most affected by the preference of individual users for a specific type of content. IG said its ranking of posts is not influenced by account types (business/creator/personal). The ranking of an account’s posts depends only on the degree of interaction generated by the content.
    Now that rumors and myths about the IG algorithm have been clarified, we need to understand the algorithm’s conventions for organizing content to determine how to devise strategies for content based on these conventions.

Key Factors Influencing IG’s Algorithm and How to Decode and Capitalize on Them

Factor 1: Interest
Cracking the code: Use demographic data from the back end of your business account, such as gender, age, city, country and reach and interaction of different types of posts, to understand followers’ interests; also adding popular hashtags can help increase the exposure of your content and make it easier to reach a target audience.

Factor 2: Relationship
Cracking the code: When posting content, it might help to ask a question that encourages interaction with followers and gets followers to respond of their own initiative. It’s the most direct and effective way to maintain a relationship with them. When no messages are scheduled, you can use stories to maintain a presence in followers’ minds, but avoid posting canned messages or using emoticons.

Factor 3: Timeliness
Because videos are watched longer, the algorithm naturally assumes users prefer videos. So when you see mostly videos on the IG Explore page, it may seen time length is important. But IG said “timing” was even more important.

Cracking the code: Use your business account to check when followers are most active and issue posts during those time periods to more effectively enhance the exposure of those messages and reach more people.

Factor 4: Frequency
Cracking the code: You have to consider the purpose of the account. Is it to increase followers or to promote products and events? If it’s to boost your following, you might consider checking the IG feed more often and increasing the frequency of your posts. If you want a post about a product to get more attention, reducing frequency but strengthening the content’s quality is a good strategy.

Source: Oliver, Marketers

Case  Study
Tigerair Taiwan – Nagoya Airport Promotion

Campaign Background
Chubu Centrair International Airport outside of Nagoya formally opened a second terminal in September 2019, which coincided with the fast approaching winter ski season in Hakuba Valley to the north. A growing number of Taiwanese go to Japan on skiing trips, and the hope was to capitalize on the opening of the new terminal at the Nagoya airport to showcase skiing and other attractions in the region.

Campaign Features
Surveys have found that consumers are familiar with attractions in Nagoya itself but do not have strong impressions of peripheral destinations in the region. Some even describe Nagoya online as a “boring city.” We suggested countering these trends through the highly interactive Tigerair Taiwan fan page. We first used the community to drive discussion and draw attention, then leveraged the event page to give maximum exposure to campaign information. We also brought in several key opinion leaders to turn around Nagoya’s stigmatization and used different perspectives to promote Nagoya as actually being a lot of fun.

Image/CHEESE Marketing Integration

Teaser – Tigerair calls for ways to boost Nagoya route

Used high stickiness of Tigerair Taiwan fan club to generate
the following from 2 days of posts:

Reinforced posts with digital advertising to expand online reach

Advocates for Nagoya – KOLs take on stigmas, show how to have a good time in Nagoya

Image/CHEESE Marketing Integration