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Hawaii, Brussels, Victoria, and Bali, INDONESIA – Addressing the China Tourism Forum during FITUR Travel Fair, the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) President, Professor Geoffrey Lipman, said that “China’s commitment to make tourism a consumption-lead industry and a pillar of the economy was incredibly significant.”
He added that Africa will be one of the great beneficiaries as win-win trade deals for resources intensify in the next decade and Chinese outbound travelers – business and leisure – discover the beauties of Africa. He added that “the great hubs being built in the Gulf, with world leading airlines, mega airports, and modern transit centers will become the new connectivity centers of the BRICS-driven trade flows.”
Lipman predicted that in the second half of the current decade China will have become the largest inbound, outbound, and domestic market. Already travel and tourism within China is more than double global international arrivals. And this internal market with more than 5,000 years of civilization, history, and heritage is an incubator for a next generation of Internet savvy, smart, well-educated Chinese travelers, with tourism as a primary discretionary spending focus.
He also noted that despite its late start, China was serious about its green growth transformation, and he underscored the fact that travel and tourism must now step up to the plate and become a lead sector in this evolution as well.
In a subsequent intervention at Investour – attended by several African Ministers of Tourism – Professor Lipman suggested that the next phase of African development will see far greater investment from non-traditional sources, given the anticipated global austerity regimes in place for the foreseeable future. He noted that Chinese companies were very active in port and stadia construction and anticipated more investment from this source in superhighways, fast trains, modern airports, national parks, and cruise docks, over the next decade.
Chinese travelers will be an integral part of the trade flows, providing a serious boost to exports and jobs across the continent.
He said that African countries should commit firmly to green growth and ensure that their travelism resources – across the supply and demand networks – were able to get preferential access to the massive climate adaptation funds that would come into play.
Last but not least he talked about the new developments in Internet-based impact funding, committing that ICTP would work closely with GateTrip [ www.gatetrip.com ] to make this rapidly-evolving phenomenon of “crowdfunding” available to tourism destinations – with Africa as a primary point of focus.
During the fair, ICTP and the China Business Network (CBN) reached an agreement to extend collaboration to provide support, advice, and seminars to Destination Council Members of ICTP on winning and satisfying Chinese travelers, as well as to develop a similar program for tourism communities in China receiving foreign visitors.
Adam Wu, Chief Operating Officer of CBN, said: “We are very excited to partner with ICTP to strengthen our mission ‘Bring the World to China and Take Chinese to the World.’ While we are already building a solid partnership for promotion of this two-way trade and social giant, we are particularly happy to extend this cooperation to China’s outwards investment which is one of the bipolar focuses of CBN. And we share ICTP’s vision of the deepening of the China/Africa links where we are already helping many African Investment Promotion Agencies in showcasing their destinations in China.”
Lipman added, “ICTP shares fully CBN’s global vision of the positive force of China tourism and travel as a socio-economic driver – particularly for powering investment in the sector, its supply chain, and its infrastructure.”