China, The Future of Travel

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China Business Services is pleased to announce that we will be partnering with the WTM-ChinaContact conference ‘China – the Future of Travel’. Date: 6 November 2006 , 09:00-18:00; Venue: World Travel Market, Excel, London; Website: www.future-of-travel.org

The event will be the first pan-industry event on bilateral tourism relations between China and Europe. Held in partnership with World Travel Market and with strong support from the tourism boards of UK and China as well as government and tourism bodies (such as CBBC, WTTC, UKinbound), this event will focus attention on the importance in developing strong bilateral tourism relations with China. It is to take place in London following a full year since the agreement on Approved Destination Status for Britain. The conference will serve as a unique platform to discuss improvements to travel and tourism cooperation, present tourism related investment opportunities and provide a useful networking event for European and Chinese tourism officials, industry professionals and the media.

Who will benefit from this conference?

    • Anyone who wishes to gain a deep understanding of the tourism business opportunities now open in China.
    • Companies considering investment in China for inbound/outbound and looking for connections, advice and direction.
    • Potential investors, funds, consulting firms and banks.

The conference will address key issues, including:

    • ADS tourism as a bi-lateral concept; de-mystifying the China tourism hype.
    • Challenges and opportunities in developing leisure tourism out of business tourism.
    • Improvements in hospitality through cultural awareness and technological advance.
    • Exploring the Chinese market for technology in tourism (aviation, GDS, online booking, CRM).
    • The rising importance of China as destination and market for independent travel and corporate travel.
    • Exploring the Meetings and Conferences sector in China.
    • The interaction of culture, sports and tourism; discussing their social and economic contributions.
    • Off the beaten track – bringing new experiences to European tourists in China, and Chinese tourists in Europe.
    • Identifying and developing investment in tourism infrastructure in China; Supporting the growing demand and need for sustainable development.
    • Showcasing the best marketing and sales methods to sell Europe to the Chinese and China to the Europeans.

Participants from China:
About 50 tour operators, travel agents, ground handlers, airline executives and technology companies. Outbound and Inbound tourism represented in equal measure. Officials from the China National Tourism Administration and regional tourism boards. Media representatives from major newspapers, television, radio, online and travel-trade publications.

Participants from Europe & Worldwide:
Approximately 200, consisting of tourism officials, academics and business people. With many international travel industry players in London during this time, the event will attract attendees from all over Europe and the world. Sectors who will gain from this conference include: tourism promotion bodies, technology, aviation, retail, finance, insurance, specialist tour operation, ground handlers, sightseeing companies, tour attractions, investment firms, marketing companies.

Please visit the conference website for more details: Website: www.future-of-travel.org

Background
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation anticipates China will become the top tourist destination – and the top tourist source market – by 2020. By promoting bilateralism in tourism development, both regions (China and Europe) will grasp the true benefits of the growing tourism and business exchanges. Chinese businesses place strong emphasis on bi-lateral cooperation, a cultural distinction that is not emphasised enough in the West. To succeed in business with China, it is vital to pay attention to cultural sensitivities and understand the thought process of your partners.

Britain has been an approved tourism destination (ADS) for Chinese tourists since July 2005. The European Union signed the agreement earlier, since September 2004. All Chinese visitors to Europe prior to this time were categorised as business, family or education type visas. The ADS agreement marks a turning point in tourism relations between the China and Europe.

While it opens many exciting opportunities it also poses challenges that must be addressed head-on. It is time to examine how ADS tourism has developed so far and what can be done to bolster its positive effects while mitigating the problems that have arisen. Observations from other destinations provide valuable lessons which we must learn in order to foster positive and sustainable development of leisure tourism from China.
There is an urgent need for European countries to join marketing efforts in order to attract Chinese tourists in competition with other tourist regions such as Asia and North America. This should be both government and industry led. This forum provides an important opportunity for business and policy leaders to develop and drive forward a strategy for success.

With Beijing and London both Olympic hosts in 2008 and 2012 respectively, the potential for increased cooperation and good will is better than ever. Tourism is often seen as an engine for economic growth but it is equally a catalyst for social development and inter-cultural exchange. The interaction between Culture, Sports and Tourism deserves detailed discussion, and paves the way for exciting new opportunities in tourism development.

While European tourists have been travelling to China for many years in tour groups, the prospects for increased business travel and individual/family travel have improved dramatically over recent years. As China’s economy improves so does its accessibility. Events like the 2008 Olympics and the 2010 World Expo are focusing the world’s attention on China to discover its amazing tourism potential. Independent travel to China is due to increase dramatically over the next few years.

However currently there are only a handful of world-famous sites that attract the vast majority of foreign visitors to China. Though many more sites are building capacity at a fast rate (hotels, restaurants, car parks, roads etc.) this is unmatched by professional marketing or enhanced visitor experiences. Tourism could be a lifeline for many communities in rural China if these issues are addressed.

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