China and CEE at UTAZÁS Travel Exhibition 2016
National booths of 9 m2 or more promoted the countries of the CEE region, appearing around the grandiose booth of China. National coordinators of the China – CEE Tourism Cooperation arrived in Budapest to attend the professional events. Upon the invitation of the China – CEE Countries' Tourism Coordination Centre more than 100 Central and Eastern European and 26 Chinese tour operator companies visited UTAZÁS to participate in the international program series.
The second China Information Day Conference, organized by the Tourism Coordination Centre was held on 4rd March as part of the professional programs for the international audience. At the conference Professor Dr. Wolfgang Arlt presented the results of the 3-month tourism route development project, launched by the TCC, supported and conducted by the Professor and his colleagues from COTRI, China Outbound Travel Research Institute. Other China experts enriched the list of conference lecturers; Mr. Rao Tian, tourism expert of CITS Outbound Department told about the latest phenomena in Chinese outbound travel, new generations of travellers and secondary destinations in Europe. Mr. Casper Tollerud, CEO of LEEMIAN Consulting presented cost-effective long-term marketing solutions. In his lecture he underlined the importance of quick reactions to market changes and suggested ‘social crowd surfing' as a means by which long-term development and good ROI can be reached. Dr. Adam Wu, CEO of CBN Travel & MICE and World Travel online in his lecture highlighted the key differences between the China web and the worldwide web and presented a case study ‘Using WeChat to promote Slovenia successfully in China' to share his experience. Mr. Nie Fu, from 'Gateway to Europe', Hungarian – Chinese Association talked about the challenges of receiving Chinese visitors and made his suggestions to service providers, using his wide experience as a practising tour guide.
Embedded in the professional program of UTAZÁS, the CEE and Chinese business partners could also conduct B2B talks with each other and appear at informal networking events – another good chance to do business. During their stay in Europe the Chinese tour operators set off on sub-regional study tours, visiting Croatia, Slovakia, and Slovenia beside Hungary.
Tangible results in the increase of Chinese tourism in CEE
In its short history the China – CEE Countries' Tourism Coordination Centre completed several successful projects. www.ceec-china.travel and www.china-ceec.travel websites are available with recent news and professional information, both in the Chinese and the English languages.
Beyond state administration and national tourism offices the TCC managed to reach CEE tourism business partners and actively involve them in its activities. The first China Information Day (CID) Conference and the China – CEE B2B workshops on the occasion of the ‘Launch Events of China – CEE Tourism Promotion Year' in 2015 attracted more than 300 CEE and 3 dozen of Chinese tour operator companies. The TCC submitted a Letter of Intent to the One Belt one Road, the foreign policy initiative of China, and expressed its intention to live with the opportunities that the Initiative offers for various international and regional associations. Business partners gave huge input to the tourism route and product development workshop series of the TCC in the first quarter of 2016.
Chinese outbound tourism continued to grow by double-digit numbers in 2015, producing 133 million border-crossings*. It is very promising that four of the CEE Countries, still secondary destination for Chinese travellers within Europe, received more than 50,000 Chinese arrivals per country (these are the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia and Poland) last year. The increase in Hungary, Slovakia, Montenegro and Serbia were all above +40%. Hungary alone saw a 40% rise in guest nights, making it a total of 223 029 compared to 2014 data. A very important contributor to the recent increase is that three direct flights connect Central and Eastern European capitals with Beijing. LOT operates a flight between Warsaw and Beijing, Air China launched its direct flight between Beijing and Budapest last May and Hainan Airlines started its service connecting Beijing and Prague last September.
*data from COTRI
A recent milestone in the tourism relations of China and the CEE countries was the official opening of CNTA Regional Office in Budapest on 4th March. The Budapest office will further strengthen the central role of Budapest in the tourism relations of CEE with China. Headed by Mr. Liu Cheng, former director of the Rome Office of CNTA the Budapest Regional Office will take responsibility for channelling Chinese tourists into the CEE region and marketing China as a tourism destination for CEE travellers. A staff of two Chinese and two Hungarian colleagues will maintain the contact with tourism administration and the operative bodies of the 16 CEE countries.
Please find the Workshop Reports and Final Report of COTRI on this link:
Please find the pdf. of CID 2016 Conference lectures on this link:
Here you find the photo gallery of the events:
Please find here the list of Chinese Tour Operator companies with short profiles under the links below: