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Home >  BULLETINITB China wraps up with calls for bigger and better
ITB China wraps up with calls for bigger and better
Europe leaves UK and economic woes behind, making beeline to Shanghai in readiness for EU-China Travel Tourism Year 2018. Martin Donovan reports

16 May 2017

ITB China is not only establishing itself as a new trade-show brand, but also a lifeline with Europe as the continent’s travel industry overcomes Britain breaking away from EU, terrorist threats and recovery from the global financial crisis.

The inaugural edition of the show came to a close in Shanghai on May 12 with a day that included presentations and seminars focused on business travel and MICE. The opening two days saw content centred around digital technology and China’s massive online booking business.

Partnerships have been struck with the European Travel Commission and the London-headquartered European Travel Operators Association. A Europe Pavilion – minus a UK presence – was backed with European Union funding while Finland and Portugal had two of the largest stands on showfloor where 600 organisations and companies were represented.

“This has been only the beginning of the preparations to the EU-China Tourism Year 2018, an upcoming year full of opportunities and partnerships,” said Eduardo Santander (left), executive director of the European Travel Commission.

“ITB China has placed Europe higher in its agenda making a contribution to make our destinations more attractive and competitive,” Santander said.

The showfloor saw smaller regions of Europe well represented with Ireland’s Golf Voyager winning ITB China’s first best start-up award.

Among the non-European exhibitors were Sharjah and Abu Dhabu, from the United Arab Emirates, Los Angeles, Myanmar and Bhutan. An Americas’ section saw exhibitors from Peru, Ecuador and Argentina among others.

Buyers and exhibitors MIX spoke to during the three-day event said they hoped to see a larger show next year along with “fine-tuning” when it came to appointments between hosted buyers and suppliers who paid for floor space.

“The quality of buyers is good, but people don’t stick to their appointments,” said Wolfgang Gartner, head of tourism marketing for the southeast German state of Saxony, on the second day of the show.

“But I think this will change when they instil some discipline on the buyers as it tends to be this way at the start of shows.”

Messe Berlin VP Martin Buck greets ‘Santa’ at the Finland Pavilion

Officials from Messe Berlin, which owns ITB, said a system had been put in place in which buyers who were late for appointments were contacted via a central control point. English-speaking assistants were also assigned to each exhibitor for no extra charge.

“China’s new marketplace for the travel industry sees the complimentary translation hostess service as a factor that sets ITB China apart from other trade shows,” said a Messe Berlin spokesman.

Gartner added that Saxony hoped to attract groups fascinated by the tradition of craftsmanship in the region with handmade musical instruments, watches and other luxury goods.

Saxony also has a heritage of auto production with Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen; a museum in honour of Audi founder August Horsch in the town of Zwickau.

Gartner added that while conference organisers tend to choose Leipzig, Saxony’s largest city, he hoped groups from that travel between Berlin and Prague would use Saxony as a stop-off point to explore the region.

Valentin Gazagan was also hoping Chinese groups would discover more of Europe. The MBA student from Romania was representing SC Phoenix Tour, a travel company set up by a Chinese businessman in Bucharest.

“Personally I see Chinese travellers and investors looking to eastern Europe and in the way they earlier became interested in western and central Europe,” said Gazagan, who is studying at a university in Shanghai.

Maxine Liu, market manager for America international partnerships with Chinese online travel giant Ctrip, said it was important for B2B events in China to grow and compete.

“I think the show is a little small because C&ITM last year in Shanghai was bigger. Old friends as well as customers always come to these shows – that’s why it’s also good to be here,” said Liu.

“I hope next year ITB can have more customers here… because it’s better to go bigger with more buyers and partners.”

Closing-day estimates from ITB China show that 600 exhibiting companies from nearly 70 countries and regions met with more than 10,000 attendees and buyers in the 12,000 sqm area of fully booked exhibition space.

More than 400 participants attended a “speed-dating” event between buyers and suppliers hosted by Meituan-Dianping, China’s largest group deals website, on the first day of the May 16-18 show.

Tags :
business events   China   ITB China  

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