Published on : Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Prof.Wolfgang Georg Arlt, Founding Director, China Outbound, Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) in an exclusive interview with Travel And Tour World speaks about the growing Chinese market during the sidelines of the sixth edition of ACE of MICE show.
He is the Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (London), Researcher for the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Tokyo) and member of the Human Resource Development and the Industry committee of PATA Pacific Asia Travel Association (Bangkok). In 2017 he became a member of the UNWTO Tourism Experts Panel.
Travel And Tour World: How has the show been so far? Since you have so much in your kitty what drove this growth and how do you feel like being active with so many organisations?
Prof.Wolfgang Georg Arlt: This is a show specially for MICE tourism and only for B2B. We don’t have that many visitors but the level of exhibitors is very high.
Well, I started to work with Chinese tourism market about 40 years ago , not many people were working in this field and over the years many became aware and interested. Last year was China –Turkey tourism year, I have some good friends here so I am attending the fair.
Travel And Tour World: What are the major driving factors for the market as it is predicted that China Outbound Tourism Market to surpass the milestone of US$ 500 Billion by 2024?
Prof.Wolfgang Georg Arlt: China is the biggest edition to the source market and is still growing very fast, according to our calculations we had 162 millions border crossings around 300 billion USD spending and these prediction is probably right.
The main factor is that Chinese people have the money to travel and top 10 percent have the money, these people are curious to see the growth. The Chinese government has been opening the gates, in many countries it is easier to get visas,easy passport regulations and a strong interest to see the growth.
Travel And Tour World: What should be the marketing strategies to win Chinese FITS?
Prof.Wolfgang Georg Arlt: First thing that not all 160 million travellers are made of the same kind of people so one has to understand the market segment. Are you going for packaged tours, FITS, domestic travel or the mixture where the customer goes to a operator and gets a customized itinerary.
You have to understand what you have to offer and what kind of customers you can attract. If you are in a famous destination like in Turkey, most Chinese people know that it is existing. If you are in Peru and Belgium you have to spend time and money say that you exist at the first place. A way to people is social media but in China there is no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google so you have to use Chinese social media.
Travel And Tour World: 180 million Chinese Outbound Trips in 2019? What factors will are driving this massive outflux and which major regions the Chinese prefer?
Prof.Wolfgang Georg Arlt: If you are somebody important in China these days having an international travel experience is a part of the lifestyle. The growth is coming from the fact that the economy is growing and many people can afford it. About half of the trips are made to Hong Kong and Macau, about 85 % of the trips are made in Asia.
If you are really rich you will prefer special places trip, make a trip to Antarctica in the south pole but it is very expensive. Everybody goes to Paris, New York and Sydney but many people have already been there but now they prefer very exotic location. It is not about shopping anymore or taking pictures and it is more about being connected to the local culture.
Travel And Tour World: How Chinese demands and innovations are changing the global tourism industry?
Prof.Wolfgang Georg Arlt: It is not only that traveling is changing for Chinese, in the past people have been thinking that Chinese behaved differently from other tourists and have different demands just that they are not that experienced.
But the opposite is happening, the Chinese travelers are into technical things, more into IT and AI. It has become easier to use apps and language is no longer a concern. Chinese travelers are a lot more demanding and you have to follow the way they way Chinese like. Mobile payments is more in demand and preferred by them.
Travel And Tour World: China’s outbound tourists now accounts for 10 percent of the total of global tourists. What drove this growth?
Prof.Wolfgang Georg Arlt: By 2030 we will go up to 20 percent I think we have not seen yet the development in the coming decade.
Travel And Tour World: In 2018 the Chinese tourists are craved for customised tours including Michelin-star restaurants, ancient sites and important sporting events, according to joint research undertaken by ForwardKeys and China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI).Tell us about the trend this year?
Prof.Wolfgang Georg Arlt: The trends is growing into the idea of learning something or doing something like wine tasting, art sense of the local people so that when they come back home they say this is what I have achieved. Chinese don’t have time, we are talking of the market where everyone is first generation, they have a lot of places still to see and want to have extensive experience.
Travel And Tour World: Tell us how to market a destination’s products and services to Chinese outbound tourists?
Prof.Wolfgang Georg Arlt: Know the markets people in North China are sun seekers like the Europeans and, people in South China have sunshine all the time and are not much interested.
We have 3 million Chinese who are students aboard and living in the United States/ Australia they know more about the western culture .So know who is your market and concentrate on one segment the niche market in China. Don’t try to do everything for everybody China is huge.
Travel And Tour World: How ACE of MICE is bridging the gap in the global travel industry?
Prof.Wolfgang Georg Arlt: In 2018 China became the biggest MICE tourism source market overtaking US. Chinese tourists combine business and leisure tourism you have to be more ready to programe routes and be prepared as they might bring some family. There are also big group for incentive tours.
I am here for the first time most of the Turkish companies they are trying to put Turkey in the international platform and most of the exhibitors are from Turkey. Through this they want put Turkey in the international map and I think Turkey wants to play the role of a meeting point and be a bridge between the East and the West.