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A button to officially launch the interactive platform for China outbound travel
A button to officially launch the interactive platform for China outbound travel

With more than 50 million outbound travellers expected to leave China in 2010, the Chinese outbound market is attracting more and more attention of destinations around the world.

As part of the ITB Convention 2010 a workshop organised by the German-based COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute and the Chinese company Dragon Trail presented Social Media Marketing as the most promising way to reach the Chinese market. The CEO of PATA Greg Duffell and the Special Adviser to the UNWTO Geoffrey Lipman supported this view in the panel discussion with Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and Jens Thraenhart, leaders of COTRI and Dragon Trail respectively.

China is the country with the largest number of internet users in the world and has also developed into the largest tourism source market in Asia. With growing choice and sophistication of the Chinese travellers, destinations and companies have to use up-to-date communication to reach the attention and imagination of these high-spending customers. Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are banned in China, but their Chinese equivalents are getting even more traffic than the “western” services.

As Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt, director of COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, pointed out in his The Chinese Outbound market is one of the few source markets which continued to grow even during the global economic crisis. In 2009, more than 47.5 million Chinese travelled across the border, an increase of 4% compared to 2008. The Chinese government has recently declared to give more support to the growth of outbound tourism in the future with a least 9% more outbound travels every year planned. “In the year of transformation 2010, China remains the most important emerging market to regain lost ground”, Prof. Arlt pointed out.

The workshop started with some personal remarks of Geoffrey Lipman, who shared his 25 years of experience in working with the Chinese government and the Chinese tourism industry leaders. In step with the Chinese economic miracle, China has build a tourism infrastructure from scratch, which now handles close to 2 billion domestic trips and is more and more embracing also outbound travel.

Gregory Duffell, CEO of PATA, remembered the audience however of the fact, that the Chinese tourists will not come automatically to a destination if they do not perceive to get the right treatment and the right products for their tastes and expectations. Nevertheless, Duffell confirmed that PATA is putting special emphasis on China, which is also documented by the publications, PATA and COTRI have jointly published in the last few months.

The workshop concluded with all four panelists pushing a button to officially launch the interactive platform for China outbound travel.

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