How digital tools can boost EU-China tourism – a discussion with the CEO of Ctrip at the European Parliament in preparation of 2018 EU-China Tourism Year. 数字工具如何推动中欧旅游发展-与携程CEO在欧洲议会为筹备2018中欧旅游年展开讨论
At the occasion of the 19th EU-China Bilateral Summit, ChinaEU organized a seminar with key members of the European Parliament in preparation of the EU-China Tourism Year that will be held in 2018. Guest speakers were Jane Jie Sun, CEO of China’s leading online travel agent Ctrip, and Matthew Brennan, expert on China’s digital marketing and WeChat.
ChinaEU organized the seminar together with key member of the European Parliament
The participants mulled over how digital tools and in particular online booking platforms and social media can boost the number of Chinese tourists in Europe. Today, China is the world’s largest travel market in terms of expenditure and the second largest in terms of outbound travel, and European destinations can improve their position in this market. According to the China Tourism Academy, the official tourism research institute of China National Tourism Administration, in 2016 the number of outbound tourism in China reached 122 million people, and Chinese visitors spent €100 billion (about 760 billion RMB) in overseas destinations. Statistics show that Thailand, Japan, South Korea, the U.S. and the Maldives are the top five destinations where Chinese tourists spent the most money. The first EU country, Italy, comes only ninth.
与会者就数字工具，特别是在线预订平台和社交媒体在提高中国赴欧游客数量方面发挥的作用进行了认真的讨论。 如今中国游客已成为世界上最大的旅游消费群体，也是出境游的第二大人群，而欧洲作为旅游目的地仍有潜力吸引更多的中国游客。 据中国旅游研究院（中国国家旅游局官方研究所）统计，2016年中国出境旅游人数达到1.22亿人次，中国游客境外消费达1000亿欧元（约合7600亿元人民币）。 数据显示，泰国，日本，韩国，美国和马尔代夫是中国游客消费最高的五大旅游目的地。在欧盟国家中，意大利是中国游客消费最多的国家，但只位列中国游客消费第九大热点城市。
Ctrip CEO Jane Jie Sun delivering a presentation on digital tourism at the European Parliament
How can EU destinations be made more attractive for Chinese tourists? Jane Jie Sun referred to structural measures that she had listed in a recent opinion article on China Daily: more flexibility for travel visas and investment in ports and connections – for instance, adding direct flights between cities, offering charter flights and special trains for the convenience of travelers; improved port and harbor clearance infrastructure; additional cross-border travel cooperation zones and international travel ports; improved service quality of scenery spots. Online travel agencies are there to highlight to potential clients the improvements from which they can benefit. If you make an attractive offer, Chinese consumers will take it up. Mrs Sun gave the example of a worldwide tour in 88 days at the price of 200,000 USD per person which was sold out by Ctrip in only 17 seconds. “Ctrip’s mission is to make travel more convenient and bring the world closer together” concluded Mrs Sun, in order to “bridge the Eastern and the Western cultures, and promote peace around the world through international travel.”
Eric Philippart, Responsible of the EU-China Year of Tourism at the directorate general Grow from the European Commission, acknowledged that visa is an important obstacle to the tourism cooperation among countries. Granting Chinese and European citizens with a five-year visa to visit the other region would create an important incentive for travelers to return for a second trip, taking advantage of the policy facilitation.
欧盟委员会内部市场、工业、创业和中小企业总司中欧旅游年负责人Eric Philippart先生也认同签证是各国旅游合作的重要障碍。 给予中国和欧洲公民十年签证访问另一个地区，将大大便利旅游，为旅客再次入境旅行创造重要动力。
China Channel Co-Founder Matthew Brennan presenting China’s digital landscape at the European Parliament
China Channel联合创始人Matthew Brennan在欧洲议会解读中国数字市场行情
Matthew Brennan, Co-Founder of China Channel, explained the potentialities of digital marketing in China. “If one is to understand China’s digital ecosystem, one needs to understand the phenomenon of WeChat. WeChat is not social media. It is not, as many people put it, China’s version of WhatsApp. WeChat is a tool, an operating system which integrates all different functions of life.” In order to attract Chinese tourists, Europe needs to become smarter and link to the very tools used by Chinese travelers, such as e-wallet solutions like WeChat Pay and Alipay, online booking apps like Ctrip and Dianping, and leading mapping platform Baidu Maps.
China Channel联合创始人Matthew Brennan解析了中国数字营销市场的潜力。 “如果你想要了解中国的数字生态系统，那么你需要了解微信现象。微信不是社交媒体。 它并不是许多人所说的中国版的WhatsApp。 微信是一种工具，一套集不同生活功用于一身的操作系统。”为了更好地吸引中国游客，欧洲需要以更聪明的方式与中国游客使用的工具联通，例如微信支付和支付宝等电子钱包解决方案，携程和大众点评等在线预订应用程序，以及中国领先的电子地图服务百度地图等。
From left to right: Jacopo Sertoli, CEO of Select Holding; Eric Philippart, Special Counselor at DG GROW; and Elisabetta Gardini, Hosting MEP.
从左至右：Jacopo Sertoli, Select Holding首席执行官；Eric Philippart, 欧盟委员会内部市场、工业、创业和中小企业总司中欧旅游年负责人；Elisabetta Gardini，欧洲议会议员。
Jacopo Sertoli, CEO of Select Holding, added that the European hotel sector can play on this trend. In 2010, he launched “Select Italy & Travel”, which rapidly became one of the leading players in China’s high-end outbound travel market. The recipe was ‘Welcome Chinese’, a hospitality standard that he launched in 2013 together with the China Tourism Academy and the China National Tourism Administration. The standard guarantees Chinese tourists to feel comfortable, travel easily and feel welcomed. It helps hotels/resorts, museums, amusement parks and all sightseeing and tourist destinations increase their reach in the Chinese outbound tourism market.
Select Holding首席执行官Jacopo Sertoli补充说，欧洲酒店业可以在这一市场环境下很好地发挥自身优势。 2010年，他推出的“Select Italy & Travel”迅速成为中国高端出境游市场的领军品牌之一。其秘辛是在2013年建立的“欢迎中国”接待标准。这一套接待标准是其与中国旅游研究院和中国国家旅游局合作推出的，目的在于保证中国游客舒适、轻松地旅行，感受宾至如归的服务。这套标准有效帮助酒店/度假村，博物馆，游乐园，观光景点等增加在中国出境旅游市场的覆盖面。
Check out the best moments of the event in this video.
Full Presentations of the guest speakers can be found here.