Broadway Sets Its Sights on Chinese Tourists

Phantom of the Opera James Barbour
Matthew Murphy

With almost a million tourists from China due to visit New York City this year, Broadway is beefing up its outreach to Chinese travelers through a new partnership with a Shanghai-based marketing firm.

The push steps up the activity in the Chinese tourism market already underway from Broadway Inbound, the arm of the Shubert Organization focused on ticketing and group sales to the international travel industry. Through its new partnership with Contineo, Broadway Inbound aims to drum up Broadway’s profile in Chinese travel publications, both consumer and trade, in order to attract theatergoers and encourage them to book tickets in advance of their trip.

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Tourist audiences have become an increasingly significant component of Broadway sales, with international visitors accounting for close to 20% of all ticket sold in the 2014-15 season. Broadway Inbound’s team-up with Contineo comes after a shift in China’s visa rules that now allows for 10-year travel visas to the U.S., opening up new freedoms for individual travelers from the country.

Travel forecasts estimate nearly one million Chinese visitors will visit New York City this year, and, according to Broadway Inbound vice president Bob Hoffman, research indicates that more than a quarter of Chinese tourists end up seeing a concert, play or other type of live performance while they’re here. The new marketing initiative hopes to snag some of them before they arrive.

The media push comes in tandem to Broadway Inbound’s ongoing outreach to international tour operators, group ticket buyers and travel agents, which includes seminars and workshops as well as ticketing services geared directly to their needs. The company also has marketing partnerships with local firms in in Japan, Germany, Brazil, Australia and the U.K., to tubthump for Broadway in those markets.

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