A JOURNEY TO THE WEST
Two entrepreneurs have created A Journey to the West, a platform for adventure activities in catalan territory focused on the Chinese market
The Barcelona brand sells a lot and is a focus of attraction for Chinese tourism. " This is how Guillermo Bosque, a co-founder of A Journey to the West, explains what has motivated them to launch their platform. The startup offers adventure activities for Catalonia for Chinese tourists who visit the territory but want to move away from the typical group trips and fully organized.
"In the same way that in the West there has been an evolution towards a tourism that looks for more the experience, same it happens in China. But it is a sector that is happening very unnoticed in our country, "says Bosque. That is why the startup, born in July 2018, wants to facilitate the arrival in Barcelona of tourists from Asia.
But what drives a catalan architect to create a platform for Chinese tourists? The union of passion for adventure travel and the experience of living for many years in Shanghai. "I saw that the new Chinese generations asked for some things that were not being offered to them," explains the entrepreneur. That is why in 2016 it was associated with a friend from China to develop this business idea.
Journey to the West offers adventure activities such as skiing, climbing, trekking or cycling routes throughout the Catalan territory. They are mainly aimed at two types of public: on the one hand, people who already practice some of these activities in China and this constitutes their main motivation for travel; And on the other, tourists who come to visit Barcelona and who are looking to do different things.
"We have focused a lot on Catalonia, because of the Barcelona brand, and that is why we are looking for activities that can be done near the city," explains Bosque, who adds that "these tourists come to Barcelona, visit the city, but they are independent travelers. They do not travel in a group but they plan themselves and we are one of the parts of they
getaway. " That's why most Chinese who use the A Journey to the West platform are couples or small groups of friends.
In order to capture Asian tourists and reach a greater number of users, A Journey to the West uses the platform per excellence in China, WeChat. It is an instant messaging application like WhatsApp but it is also a social network and anything can be paid through the WeChat Pay.
The startup has achieved a payment gateway that links WeChat to its website and in this way customers can sign up for travel and pay everything through the Chinese app.
"One of the problems of this type of client is that finding and organizing a trip outside of China is very difficult for them, because Google is censored and have other platforms that are not used in Western countries. That is why we are proposing the getaway already directly on its platforms, "explains Bosque. In addition to the difficulties that may imply the language and the payment system, since neither Visa nor PayPal is used in China. "WeChat currently has 900 million active users in the Asian country, while here it is not known. The cultural difference is brutal, "