ITB Workshop reveals: Social Media Marketing is the best way to get the attention of the growing Chinese Outbound Tourism market, new interactive platform for China outbound tourism, launched in Berlin, with backing of PATA

Chinese affluent citizens increasingly like to travel abroad, but distrust official information.

With more than 50 million outbound travellers expected to leave China in 2010, the Chinese outbound market is attracting more and more attention of destinations around the world.

As part of the ITB Convention 2010, a workshop organised by the German-based COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute and the Chinese company Dragon Trail, presented Social Media Marketing as the most promising way to reach the Chinese market. Greg Duffell, CEO of PATA and Geoffrey Lipman, Special Adviser to the UNWTO, supported this view in the panel discussion with Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and Jens Thraenhart, leaders of COTRI and Dragon Trail respectively.

China is the country with the largest number of internet users in the world and has also developed into the largest tourism source market in Asia. With growing choice and sophistication of the Chinese travellers, destinations and companies have to use up-to-date communication to reach the attention and imagination of these high-spending customers. Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are banned in China, but their Chinese equivalents are getting even more traffic than the “western” services.

As Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt, director of COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, pointed out in his The Chinese Outbound market is one of the few source markets which continued to grow even during the global economic crisis. In 2009, more than 47.5 million Chinese travelled across the border, an increase of 4% compared to 2008. The Chinese government has recently declared to give more support to the growth of outbound tourism in the future with a least 9% more outbound travels every year planned. „In the year of transformation 2010, China remains the most important emerging market to regain lost ground“, Prof. Arlt pointed out.

Social Media are increasingly important especially for the younger, affluent and techno-savvy Chinese. Word of Mouth and Word of Mouse are key elements of reaching this crucial segment of the Chinese outbound market. It is also an excellent barometer of the rapidly evolving consumer trends and interests that are relevant for destinations seeking to attract a greater share of this market, as Jens Thraenhart,. Executive Partner of Beijing-based Dragon Trail illustrated in his presentation.

The workshop started with some personal remarks of Geoffrey Lipman, who shared his 25 years of experience in working with the Chinese government and the Chinese tourism industry leaders. In step with the Chinese economic miracle, China has build a tourism infrastructure from scratch, which now handles close to 2 billion domestic trips and is more and more embracing also outbound travel.

Gregory Duffell, CEO of PATA, remembered the audience however of the fact, that the Chinese tourists will not come automatically to a destination if they do not perceive to get the right treatment and the right products for their tastes and expectations. Nevertheless Duffell confirmed that PATA is putting special emphasis on China, which is also documented by the publications, PATA and COTRI have jointly published in the last few months.

The workshop concluded with all four panelist pushing a button to officially launch the the interactive platform for China outbound travel.

COTRI (China Outbound Tourism Research Institute) is the world’s leading independent research institute for research, consulting and quality assessment relating to the Chinese Outbound Tourism market.

Dragon Trail provides brand engagement solutions for hotel companies, tourism organization, and travel corporations, as well as small to mid-size businesses seeking to build a brand presence in China and connecting with consumers in China by leveraging social media channels and digital marketing. is the new authoritative one-stop resource portal and travel industry community on China Outbound Tourism, organized jointly by COTRI and Dragon Trail.

PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) is a membership association acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of the Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry. PATA officially endorses and back – please see here for more information.

Attached photo:

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt (COTRI), Jens Thraenhart (Dragon Trail), Geoffrey Lipman (UNWTO) and Gregory Duffell (PATA) jointly starting at ITB Berlin, March 11, 2010.

Roundup: Western travel destinations aim for Chinese tourists

While last year’s drop in western outbound travel could be worrisome, many tourism professionals are developing new marketing skills to attract more Chinese tourists.

At the China Outbound Tourism Marketing Seminar on Thursday, an event held during the world’s largest tourism fair ITB in Berlin, travel professionals were provided with new insights on how to attract the Chinese market.

“In 2009 China was up 4 percent in both travel and spending while the rest of the world is down 4 to 6 percent”, said Professor Wolfgang Georg Arlt, founder of COTRI research Institute.

Getting over last year’s economic slump isn’t going to be easy, especially for the travel industry.

Professor Geoffrey Lipman, assistant-secretary general of the World Tourism Organization, told Xinhua: “Chinese outbound tourism is not going to be a cure for the weakened global tourism.””It’s the whole economy that’s weak,” he said. “If the global economy rights itself over the next few years, tourism will come back.”This year’s ITB fair is putting a lot of emphasis on how to adapt to the post-crisis era.
Jens Thraenhart, founder of China Travel Trends website, sees social media as the most important tool in capturing new market share.

“There are 390 million online Chinese Internet users, more than in the United States and there are 42 million bloggers, which is more than Europe and the United States together,” Thraenhart said at the marketing event.
Thraenhart said that offering travel services only on English Web sites was not sufficient enough to attract Chinese travelers.

“People are going to have to tap into the Chinese social media landscape, like RenRen,” Thraenhart said. RenRen is one of the leading social networking Web sites in China.

Dominique Hertzer, an entrepreneur who studied Chinese and is building her tourism business in Germany, told Xinhua that “after attending this seminar, I have a new business model.'”I realize now that social media is the most important communication tool in the Chinese market,” she said.

Djibril Baba Taboure, who runs a business travel service company in Mali, Africa, said the lecture proved hopeful for his present business model.

“We are getting a lot of business people from China coming to Africa,” Taboure said. “And I hope Chinese tourists will come after that.”Lipman said that China “is one of those places that once you begin to understand it, you cannot get it out of your head.””By 2020, China will be the largest inbound and outbound tourism market in the world,” he said.

Source:  TMC News (March 12, 2010)

CHINATRAVELTRENDS.COM DESCRIPTION (Twitter: @CnTravelTrends) has been launched and managed as a free informational resource since the fall of 2009 by Dragon Trail, and now is being expanded as the new interactive platform for China outbound tourism, organized jointly by COTRI and DragonTrail. is the one-stop resource website and community focused on China Outbound Tourism in English language, giving international travel and tourism organizations insights about the complexity of the China travel market and its online landscape. Information will include interviews, articles from contributors and experts, syndicated reports, marketplace of services, a community to connect with fellow professionals, industry surveys, and an expert panel. includes the following services to bring together travel and tourism professionals via trade news, reports, networking and job opportunities, topical discussions, searchable archives, and reference directories.

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4. Community: The integration of the ChinaContact community into at will enable members to connect, share ideas, and communicate.

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China Travel Trends is published in association with Dragon Trail, the premier brand engagement firm focused on travel and tourism, that increases brand awareness and revenues for travel brands in the Chinese market by leveraging emerging technologies and new media channels, and COTRI, the leading advisory and resource firm to assist travel and tourism organizations to cater to Chinese tourists. will strive to offer you a brand new experience of acquiring accurate information, insightful analysis and report with regard to China outbound tourism, as well as more interactive and effective networking opportunities with the others around the world via social media. Also join our pages on, and Facebook Groups and Facebook Pages, and follow us on Twitter @CnTravelTrends.

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