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Chinese Tourists A Big Market but How Many Would Come in Europe?
Chinese Tourists A Big Market but How Many Would Come in Europe?

REPORT-LONDON –WTM 2006: Chinese outbound travel market the hot issue of the first pan-industry conference between Europe and China which took place at World Travel Market brought a significant industry line-up. The conference  addressed issues and problems as well as future forecasts for the Chinese market and the benefits for European markets.

As Lady Cobham, Deputy Chairman of VisitBritain said "China`s outbound potential is great but we have to be patience."

Mr. James Bidwell, VisitLondon CEO stressed "Olympics Games is a great opportunity for China and UK to build closer tourism ties. The Beijing Olympics and UK Olympics would be a powerful catalyst for both markets."

Mr. Baumgarten, WTTC`s President noted down in his welcome speech the importance of China`s outbound travel characterizing it as the second fastest growing market in the world for the coming years.

In conference`s sessions, some key issues were addressed on how UK can attract more travellers from China. In the `ADS tourism in bilateral context` session speakers said that the cost of Visa in UK which has the double price in relation to the Schengen countries within EU is a problem in attracting Chinese travelers.

In the `China outbound travel` session the speakers defined the characteristics of today`s Chinese traveler. According to the speakers three are the main characteristics of Chinese outbound traveler. They don`t spend much, they want to visit as many destinations as they can in Europe and they want European to respect them.

But the issue still remains if the forecasts for the 100 million Chinese outbound travelers until 2020 will come true. According to session`s speakers, this estimations may be misleading. They estimate that a 4 to 5 million tourists will probably come to Europe from China in the future.

An the other hand the important trend for UK market is the fact that China ranks number 5 in transactions in UK with London and Bicester to be the major shopping destinations.

In comparison with the market in Germany which has the 16% of all China`s outbound travel in Europe, UK is appearing strong in numbers. The different points of those two countries are history; market structure and average spend while they share growth trends and interest in the Chinese travelers` groups.

The highlight of the event was the signing of a tourism cooperation agreement between the Mr. Li Wenyao, Chairman of Tourism Administration of Guangzhou Municipality and Mr. James Bidwell, CEO of Visit London.

Guangzhou is the most developed province in China. It is the largest source of tourism from China into the UK and the gateway to China via Hong Kong for trade and commerce.

The one-day conference was organized in association with the UK-based ChinaContact, a market entry specialist consultancy assisting tourism companies, travel service providers and tourism promotion boards wishing to get closer to China.

Roy Graff, Managing Director of ChinaContact, who has worked in China at a senior level, said: "What made this conference unique is the focus on bi-lateralism, a key principle in Chinese business practice."


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