China fam trip a post-Covid ’breakthrough’

Marriott teams up with Hainan tourism to organise live-event orientation for 43 buyers to visit group’s 23 properties on China's tropical island

MEETINGS and event planners across the world have seen the fam trip put on indefinite hold amid the Covid-19, but in China – where the pandemic is being brought under control – one big international hotel name has been able to go ahead.

Marriott International in China worked with the tourism authority on the tropical island of Hainan – known as “China’s Hawaii” – to bring 43 buyers to the island where the group has 23 properties between the resort city of Sanya and the provincial capital of Haikou.

Becky Cao, vice-president of global sales with Marriott Greater China, told a webinar held during the IT&CM China virtual trade show that the “lighthouse effect” would give the world hope of a MICE industry recovery with safe and clean events.

More… Hope rising in southern China

Buyers from five cities across China representing 11 industries experienced first-hand the “eight bays” where international hotels welcomed conference and incentive groups before Covid disrupted business activity.

Cao described the event as a “new normal breakthrough” in which hotel safety and sanitisation procedures under Marriott’s Global Cleanliness Council are designed to raise the confidence of group travel organisers and “accelerate industry recovery”.

The fam trip, held July 14-18 and coordinated with Hainan Province Tourism Department for B2B and MICE clients, will be looked upon as a pioneering business event as markets across the world still struggle under the pandemic. It followed a live-streaming organised by Marriott in China to showcase experiences for MICE groups and the destination.

Tourism chiefs vow to promote Sanya as a conference city

Cao said the trip was a “groundbreaking marketing initiative” and made through a “We Can’t Wait to Meet” campaign that looked set to continue “combined with back-to-work measures across China” and other recovery efforts.

“It is all set. The idea is a real step in the recovery of China’s travel industry… [what] Marriott has proposed is a milestone and a solid marketing initiative,” she said.

“It’s important to restore the MICE industry and [provide] meeting planning with a positive push while also building Hainan as a China vacation paradise.”

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