Reflecting the shift of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC’s) focus towards emerging economies – not to mention the growing success of WTTC’s China Initiative – the Chinese delegation at the recently-concluded 11th Global Travel & Tourism Summit this year exceeded 60 industry and government representatives, 4 of whom are new WTTC members.
The region of China best represented – with a delegation of 20 – was Hainan, led by WTTC member, Chen Feng, Chairman of the HNA Group. A large multi-industry enterprise group, HNA Group operates in many different sectors of travel and tourism and related industries – from air transport (with 7 airlines) and airports, to hotels, real estate, logistics, and retail.
In terms of public sector attendance from Hainan Province, WTTC was once again honored by the participation of the Hainan People’s Government, led by Tan Li, Vice Governor and Director General of the Hainan Tourism Development Commission, together with Lu Zhiyuan, Assistant Governor of Hainan Provincial People’s Government.
“The strong participation of Hainan Province is extremely welcome,” said David Scowsill, WTTC President&CEO, “WTTC has been working closely with the Hainan Tourism Development Commission on a study to assess the province’s tourism performance, as well as to forecast its travel and tourism development and investment potential over the next 10 years.”
Commissioning the study, which is due to be completed in a couple of months, was especially timely since Hainan Island has been earmarked as an international resort island by China’s State Council. As a result, there is huge growing interest in the destination among tourism and hospitality investors and management companies – not least among WTTC members.
The Hainan People’s Government has also acknowledged WTTC’s role in promoting the economic importance of travel and tourism by inviting Jean-Claude Baumgarten, a WTTC Vice Chairman and the association’s former President and CEO, to chair the Tourism International Advisory Board of Hainan Province.
The nomination was confirmed during an official ceremony organized in Las Vegas, during the 11th Global Travel&Tourism Summit, by Tan Li in the presence of the Hainanese delegation.
“I am very honored to accept this invitation,” Baumgarten said, “as this is the first time that a non-Chinese from the world of travel and tourism has been honored in such a way by the Hainan People’s Government.”