EU policymakers advocate tourism industry digitization 欧盟决策者呼吁旅游产业数字化

Tourism is not only leisure. Tourism is a major factor for economic growth. This was the central message of the high-level meeting of the Ministers of Tourism from the EU, convened in Sofia on 13 February by the Bulgarian Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova. Amongst the attendees, there was a considerable number of tourism ministers, MEPs, European Commissioners, and representatives of the Bulgarian, Balkan and European tourism industries. During the conference, the speakers shared recent best practices and aired concrete proposals to boost the development of the tourism sector.

旅游不仅是一种休闲方式。旅游同时也是促进经济增长的主要因素。这就是于2月13日举行的欧盟旅游部长级会议讨论的核心内容。此次会议在索非亚召开,由保加利亚旅游部长Nikolina Angelkova主持。参会代表包括欧洲多国旅游部长,欧盟议会议员,欧盟委员会委员,来自保加利亚和巴尔干地区的代表,以及欧洲旅游业业界人士。会议期间,发言嘉宾们分享了近年来的成功案例,并提出了促进旅游业发展的具体建议。

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The official opening of the High-level Meeting of the Ministers of Tourism in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia
欧盟旅游部长级会议在索非亚国家文化宫正式开幕

Minister Angelkova highlighted the importance of tourism as an enabling factor for economic growth, connectivity, and regional and cultural integration. The dual function of tourism as an engine of economic growth and a facilitator of connectivity, rhymes well with the objectives of the EU-China Tourism Year (ECTY).

Angelkova部长强调了旅游业在促进经济增长和互联互通,加强区域和文化融合方面的重要性。旅游业既可成为经济增长的引擎,也可以促进区域间的互联互通,这样的双重功能恰好与中欧旅游年(ECTY)的目标协调一致。

European Commissioner Elżbieta Bienkowska summarized these objectives: encouraging people to people connections, promoting lesser known destinations in Europe and China, and boosting bilateral investments in the tourism sector. In economic potential, increasing the number of Chinese tourists to the EU by only 10% relative to the current levels, she said, could translate into an additional one billion EUR in the EU economy.

欧盟委员会委员Elżbieta Bienkowska将中欧旅游年的目标总结如下:鼓励人人沟通,推广欧中非著名旅行目的地,并促进旅游业的双边投资。她表示,从经济潜力方面上来看,相较于目前水平,如果赴欧旅游的中国游客数量提高10%,那么欧盟的经济收入将可能增加10亿欧元。

A panel was dedicated to how to attract more Chinese visitors to Europe, and the Balkan region in particular, reflecting the unique opportunity provided by the ECTY.

此次会议还专门分组讨论了如何吸引更多的中国游客到欧洲,尤其是到巴尔干地区。该场分组讨论还指出了中欧旅游年所能带来的独特的合作机遇。

H.E. Zhang Haizhou, Ambassador of China to Bulgaria, was the first to speak. He stressed the challenges that lesser known European destinations face in the attraction of Chinese tourists. He underlined the necessity of the EU and member-states to invest more in the promotion of such destinations among Chinese tourists, who might not be familiar with the tourism products and sites of interest that countries like Bulgaria have to offer. Visa facilitation, new direct flight connections and more knowledge about Chinese tourists can also help such destinations stand out in China. For instance, the Czech Republic is such a destination where tourist arrivals have surged since the inauguration of a direct flight in 2014.

中国驻保加利亚大使张海舟应邀参加该分组讨论并率先发言。他强调了欧洲非著名旅行目的地在吸引中国游客方面所面临的挑战。他同时强调欧盟及其成员国有必要加大向中国游客推广这些非著名旅行目的地的投资力度,鉴于这些中国游客可能尚不熟悉保加利亚等国家所拥有的旅游产品和旅游景点。签证过程的简化,新的直飞航线以及对中国游客更多的了解都可以帮助这些旅行目的地在中国脱颖而出。捷克共和国就是一个成功的案例,自从2014年直飞航线开通以来,赴捷克的中国游客人数激增。

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H.E. Zhang Haizhou, Ambassador of China to Bulgaria, giving his insights about attracting Chinese tourists to less popular European destinations
中国驻保加利亚大使张海舟就吸引中国游客到欧洲非著名旅行目的地这一话题发言

The Internet can also play a very important role, according to the Ambassador. Since the emergence of online booking sites, sharing economy platforms, and electronic ticketing and reservations, the tourism sector has become increasingly digital. This is especially the case for the Chinese tourism market.

张大使说,互联网也在旅游业中发挥着非常重要的作用。网上订票网站、共享经济平台、电子票务和电子预订服务的出现使得旅游部门的数字化程度越来越高。中国旅游市场尤其如此。

Quoting recent data, Martin Zahariev, Managing Director of the Bulgaria National Board of Tourism Association, explained that 57% of the Chinese traveling to Europe book their trips via the mobile application of the largest Chinese online travel agent Ctrip. The huge demand from Chinese tourists for online booking makes Ctrip the world’s second largest online booking company.

保加利亚国家旅游协会执行总监Martin Zahariev引用最新数据解释说,有57%赴欧旅行的中国游客是通过中国最大的在线旅行社——携程的移动应用端预订他们的行程。中国游客对网上预订的巨大需求使得携程成为全球第二大在线预订公司。

If European destinations want to get a bigger piece of the 129 million strong Chinese outbound tourism market pie, they have to invest in an active strategy. Today, Europe is only getting only a small piece, less than 10%. If Europe invests in digital tools based on the profile and behavior of potential Chinese visitors, it stands to gain a lot.

如果欧洲的旅行目的地希望在中国强大的出境旅游市场(1.29亿人次)中占据更高的份额,他们必须采取积极的投资战略。如今,欧洲只占有该市场的一小部分:不到10%。如果欧洲能根据潜在的中国游客的需求和行为习惯投资相对应的数字化工具,欧洲将会收益良多。

In her contribution to the roundtable, ChinaEU Director Claudia Vernotti, gave concrete examples of ways to attract more Chinese tourists to lesser known destinations, such as Sofia. She suggested using a “WeChat Mini-Program”. WeChat is by far the most popular Chinese app, which combines the functions of Whatsapp, Facebook, Skype, Amazon, Instagram and several other applications to become something extremely intrinsic to Chinese people’s lifestyle and traveling. This Mini-Program could provide Chinese tourists with information in both English and Chinese about the main attractions a city has to offer, as well as shopping, dining and accommodation options, in real time location and with the opportunity to book and pay tickets directly online.

中欧数字协会主任韦茉莉在分组讨论中,通过具体实例提出了能够吸引更多中国游客到索非亚等非著名旅行目的地的方法。首先,她建议使用“微信小程序”。微信是迄今为止最受欢迎的中文应用程序,它结合了WhatsApp、Facebook、Skype、亚马逊、Instagram等其他数个应用程序的功能,成为了中国人日常生活和旅行不可或缺的工具。微信小程序可以为中国游客提供诸如城市主要景点、购物、餐饮和住宿等中英文信息,并且可以帮助游客完成实时定位、在线预订、网上直接购票等操作。

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ChinaEU Director Claudia Vernotti addressing the roundtable on Europe-China Tourism, together with (from left to right): Tom Jenkins, CEO of European Tourism Association (ETOA); Anna Athanasopoulou, Head of Unit of Tourism, Emerging and Creative Industries at DG GROW; Zhang Haizhou, Chinese Ambassador to Bulgaria; Martin Zahariev, Chairman of the Bulgaria National Board of Tourism; Oliver Fodor, Deputy Director General of the Department for Tourism International Relations at the Hungarian Ministry Of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Vasil Gelev, Director of the Centre for Promotion of Cooperation in Agriculture between China and CEE countries at the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry; and Ivan Todorov, Chairman of Bulgarian Center for Development, Investment and Tourism in China
中国数字协会主席韦茉莉在欧洲-中国旅游分组讨论会上发言,一同发言的还有(从左至右):欧洲旅游协会(ETOA)首席执行官Tom Jenkins,欧盟委员会内部市场、工业与中小企业事务司旅游、新兴产业与创意产业部门主管Anna Athanasopoulou,中国驻保加利亚大使张海舟,保加利亚国家旅游协会执行总监Martin Zahariev,匈牙利外交与对外经济部旅游国际关系司副司长Oliver Fodor,保加利亚农业,食品与林业部中国与中东欧国家促进农业合作中心主任Vasil Gelev,以及保加利亚在华发展、投资和旅游中心主席Ivan Todorov

A second concrete suggestion that Ms. Vernotti gave was to conclude a partnership between the Chinese online travel agent Ctrip and the Bulgaria National Board of Tourism. Hungary has already entered in an agreement to increase the profile of Budapest in China. Bulgaria could benefit from such a similar arrangement.

韦茉莉给出的第二点具体建议是,中国在线旅行社携程网与保加利亚国家旅游局建立合作关系。匈牙利已经与携程达成协议,以期提高布达佩斯在中国游客中的知名度。保加利亚也可以从类似的合作中受益。

A third avenue to investigate is cooperation with Chinese TV productions, where Bulgaria could be captured as a location for future series or movies. This way extra visibility could be given to the historic and cultural sites of Bulgaria, which can surely help entice Chinese tourists. Ivan Todorov, Chairman of the Bulgarian Center for Development, Investment and Tourism in China, brought forward the example of the Bulgarian village of Momchilovtsi. This village rose to fame in China through its yoghurt, which is said to stimulate longevity, but also due to it being the set of the Chinese version of the reality TV show “Survivor”.

第三点建议是与中国影视剧制作单位合作,这样保加利亚可以在未来成为中国影视剧的拍摄地。这种合作不仅可以为保加利亚的历史文化遗址增加曝光度,还能吸引大量中国游客。保加利亚在华发展、投资和旅游中心主席Ivan Todorov列举了保加利亚村庄Momchilovtsi的例子。该村庄因其出产的延年益寿的酸奶而在中国声名鹊起,但该村庄在中国走红的另外一个原因则是它曾在中国版真人秀节目《生存者》中作为取景地出现。

Sofia this year will have two other important occasions to capitalize on, in order to achieve the objective of digitizing the tourism industry in Bulgaria and the surrounding Balkan region in the framework of the ECTY: the EU Digital Assembly in June and the 16+1 Summit in late Autumn.

在中欧旅游年的框架下,索非亚今年将举办另外两场重要活动,以实现保加利亚及周边巴尔干地区旅游业数字化的目标:今年6月份的欧盟数字大会和秋末的中国-中东欧国家领导人会晤。

Agenda of the event (活动日程)

Pictures of the event (活动照片)

Videos of the keynote speeches and different panels (主旨演讲和各分组讨论的视频 )