Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organisation (DMO) for Washington, DC, continues its expansion into China, Washington, DC’s top overseas market, by becoming the first DMO in the United States to officially partner with WeChat(known as “Weixin” in China).
“By expanding our partnership with WeChat, we are able to communicate with potential Chinese visitors on the platform they use most. We can also enhance the visitor experience for more than 300,000 Chinese travelers who visit Washington, DC every year,” says Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO of DDC.
Through the cooperation with WeChat, DDC will continue to grow Welcome China, the organisation’s certification program for its members looking to cater to Chinese travelers. Participating hotels, restaurants, attractions, transportation companies, sightseeing and retail members learn about Chinese customs and resources to make Chinese leisure and business visitors feel at home in the nation’s capital. WeChat will assist DDC members in creating their official accounts and grow into its other services including WeChat Mini Program, WeChat Pay and advertisements.
Over the past year, DDC has been building a strong following on its Official Service account (account ID: visitdc), achieving the highest traffic growth among U.S. cities on WeChat in 2016. As of July 2017, Washington, DC became the number one U.S. destination on the multi-function social media mobile application.
“We are excited to work with Destination DC,” said Juliet Zhu, Head of WeChat Marketing. “We appreciate their commitment to Chinese travelers and look forward to facilitating their engagement with our users on WeChat.”
In November 2017, DDC launched WeChat’s first City Experience Mini Program in the U.S., an immersive new program built for the over one billion monthly active WeChat and Weixin users, combined. The DDC City Experience Mini Program is an interactive guide helping tourists maximize their visit to Washington. The map-driven layout of the top attractions and places to eat and shop, as well as walking directions, has an explorative style aimed at the growing number of FIT/leisure visitors. The city’s top attractions also have audio tours in Mandarin to make it easy for Chinese tourists to understand the historical and cultural significance of the places they are visiting without a tour guide.
China has been Washington, DC’s top overseas market for several years. In 2016, one in every 10 Chinese travelers to the U.S. visited Washington, DC, an increase of 75% from 2013, according to Travel Market Insights. In addition to WeChat, DDC continues to reach the Chinese market by collaborating with Brand USA and Capital Region USA through annual missions and promotions, and frequently engaging with top tour operators and travel media.
Additional airlift to Washington, DC plays an important role in increasing tourism. Air China and United Airlines have nonstop flights from Beijing and in September, Cathay Pacific will launch nonstop service from Hong Kong to Dulles International Airport. The new flight is anticipated to increase visitors from Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific region including China and India.
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