EU – China Year of Tourism 2018, opportunities from Far east

The EU-China Year of Tourism 2018 is promoted by ETC – European Travel Commission to stimulate business opportunities through knowing a target of tourists that keeps on arriving to Europe with growing flows.

China was defined as the biggest origin market of tourists by UNWTO. In the last months, big companies of the Travel & Tourism industry, OTAs and other platforms have started a trend of development and consolidation.

Ctrip is definitely the most popular platform. In 2015, it registered about 28 billion US$ of gross booking, with a 58% growth rate YOY, just behind Expedia Inc. (60+) and Priceline Group (55+). Following the consolidation in Elong, the participation in the Indian Make my Trip and the integration with Qunar, the resulting agglomerate reduces the access to new foreign players. Mover, the global expansion strategy that has been announced was concretised in the past weeks with the acquisition of three US tour operators in order to improve the integration of the services offered to tourists: Ctour Holidays and Tours for Fun on the West Coast and Universal Vision on the East Coast.

The growth by integration has been registered during this month also because of the acquisition by of the travel assets of Wanda, which created a group that can compete with Ctrip, at least on a domestic level.

In October, the first Thomas Cook China office was opened in Shanghai by the joint venture of the British group and Fonsun International. The aim is to focus on China both as an origin market and as a leisure destination, paying attention to the luxury segment.

The China Tourism Academy releases a certification named Welcome Chinese, promoted and realised by the Select Holding, accredited by the ETC for the development of Chinese tourism, foreseeing 2018. The certification can be obtained if a company respects the qualitative and quantitative standards. Moreover, it allows the access to a network of players operating in the Chinese Travel & Tourism industry. Nowadays, the certified companies are more than 500 in 32 countries. In Europe, they are 321.

On November the 3rd, the World Bridge Tourism will take place in London, organised by the ETC and the ETOA – European Tourism Association. The aim is to deepen on China as an origin market and on the changes of preferences and behaviours of different Chinese targets. This projects aspires to support 100 European tourism companies in developing business partnerships with Chinese colleagues, through B2B meetings that will take place from May to November 2017.

At Twissen we are observing how Chinese tourists use national platforms both to book and review their travel experiences. In order to catch the upcoming business opportunities, it would be convenient to analyse the expectations of this tourism target and the distributive dynamics, and to invest on networking with Chinese operators.

Author: Francesco Redi
President and founder at Twissen. Manager in Local Development, Tourism Policies,  EU Funds. He cooperates with several European universities, public bodies, development agencies, DMOs and enterprises.

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