What captured Chinese travelers’ attention on WeChat during a year with nearly no outbound tourism? Thailand stood out for publishing most of the top content, tapping into Chinese tourism trends like glamping and bookstores, as well as interactive posts and live streaming sessions. Singapore stood out for the most successful destination promotion for Lunar New Year, and Peru reached the top 10 list right at the end of the year with a digital coloring book. But the two most-read WeChat posts of the year from a national tourism board came from Spain, which won over readers with world-famous architecture and healthy lifestyles.
The articles are ranked by the number of views they received by the end of the week they were posted, but we’ve also included the total number of views as of 13 December.
Here are the top 10 posts of 2021:
10. Tourism Authority of Thailand – Beijing Office
Play the Sawadee Ka Race game
40,181 views for the week of 31 July-6 August. 40.3k views as of 13 December.
This summer, Thailand created a mobile game to engage users and introduce them to different destinations around Thailand. Rewards for high scores were Qunar travel vouchers worth RMB150-600.
Left to right: Posts by the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Beijing office about the Sawadee Ka racing game, glamping, and bookstores
9. Tourism Authority of Thailand – Beijing Office
Springtime camping in Thailand + live streaming
41,367 views for the week of 13-19 March. 41.4k views as of 13 December.
Glamping was arguably the biggest Chinese tourism trend of 2021, and the Thai tourism board picked up on this early, with a feature on four photo-perfect campgrounds. The article ended with an announcement about an upcoming live streaming on Thai martial arts.
8. Tourism Authority of Thailand – Beijing Office
World Book Day: Thailand’s best bookstores
41,373 views for the week of 17-23 April. 41.5k views as of 13 December.
For World Book Day, the Thai tourism board featured four bookstores that stood out for extensive collections, beautiful design, and extras like cafes and artistic gifts.
Left to right: Posts by the Tourism Authority of Thailand about Songkran Festival, celebrating 2020’s accomplishments, and the reopening of Phuket from 1 July
7. Tourism Authority of Thailand – Beijing Office
Happy Songkran + live streaming
42,628 views for the week of 10-16 April. 42.6k views as of 13 December.
A short video shared Thai Songkran Festival celebrations, from Buddhist ceremonies to water fights in the street. The post also included information on an upcoming live streaming about Songkran.
6. Tourism Authority of Thailand – Beijing Office
Thank you for your support in 2020
45,680 views for the week of 30 January-5 February. 45.8k views as of 13 December.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand looked back on the highlights of a difficult year, including live streaming, offline marketing activities in China, and awards won, with a giveaway for readers to say ‘thank you’ for their ongoing support.
Singapore Tourism Board’s cute digital red envelopes for Chinese New Year 2021
5. Singapore Tourism Board
Chinese New Year red envelope giveaway
56,219 views for the week of 30 January-5 February. 72.2k views as of 13 December.
Sending digital “red envelopes” is a very modern and very popular Chinese New Year pastime, and a number of tourism accounts tapped into this in 2021. Singapore provided digital red envelope covers featuring the city’s ultra-cute mascot as a soft, user-driven marketing campaign.
An interactive digital coloring book was an end-of-year hit for Peru
What if Peru lost its colors?
62,155 views for the week of 11-17 December
This virtual coloring book with four different scenes of Peru allowed users to discover the country’s rich spectrum of color while having fun with the interactive format that filled in portions of each line drawing with a tap of the finger. Scenes included Machu Picchu, a dolphin leaping from the Amazon River, and local people at the island of Puno.
3. Tourism Authority of Thailand – Chengdu Office
On 1 July, Phuket officially opens to the world
65,837 views for the week of 22-28 May. 69.2k views as of 13 December.
From 1 July, Thailand began its gradual reopening to vaccinated international visitors, starting with the Phuket Sandbox Plan. Pre-pandemic, Thailand and Japan vied for the title of most popular international destination for Chinese tourists, so reopening announcements have received a lot of attention on WeChat.
2021’s two most-read NTO WeChat articles were both published by Turespaña, the Spanish tourism board
The Spanish lifestyle: Not “involuted”
75,288 views for the week of 3-9 July. 87.4k views as of 13 December.
“Involuted” was one of China’s buzzwords for 2021, referring to an attitude of resignation and withdrawal from the world. In contrast, the Spanish tourism board stressed the healthy, active, engaged, and social nature of life in Spain.
After 139 years, the star on the Sagrada Familia has finally been lit
100,000+ views for the week of 27 November-3 December.
Gaudi’s work in progress and Barcelona tourism hotspot, the star atop the Sagrada Familia cathedral was finally lit up this December. Within one day, views surpassed the 100,000 mark – the highest reported by WeChat.