New and old

Last week saw General Secretary Xi Jinping consolidating his power at the 19th Party Congress of the Communist Party of China. Frugality was a keyword, with no flower decorations, no gifts for delegates and transport via shuttle buses instead of limos.

The proclaimed “New Era”, with China taking more centre stage than before, bodes well for a continuation of Chinese outbound travel. The concentration on quality and sustainable growth over quantity, with no more GDP growth projections mentioned by Xi made talking about “doubling the GDP within this and this period” sounding very 2012 – a good example for the tourism industry to stop talking about arrival numbers and start concentrating on quality and sustainable development also for the Chinese outbound tourism market.

Five of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee are new, but again all of them are men. They appeared on stage in their identical ties and suits almost exactly at the same time as the 10th ITB Asia opened in Singapore. The fair turned out to be well visited and offering a lot of additional events and presentations.

Technology was at the heart of many offers by exhibitors as well as being a significant part of the conference programme. Beside all the yield management and data consolidation geekware, CTrip presented on several occasions at ITB Asia and at the accompanying Asian Leader Forum held by WTTC and the Web in Travel conference new insights into the practical applications for the Chinese traveller.  Jane Jie Sun, CEO of CTrip described how CTrip’s 24 hour support for its customers – which translates to a full transparency and recording of every move of the traveller via her or his smartphone – enabled them to locate and steer to safety all their customers at the Las Vegas shooting within one hour. She also showed the new hardware installed at hotels in China and soon abroad which enables CTrip customers via face recognition to check-in, pay and check-out with just a smile towards the machine.

The last presentation of the ITB Asia 2017 was given by Tunisia and included old future – the president of the Star Wars Fan Club Singapore presented in full-body white Star Trooper uniform the twelve places in Tunisia were scenes for several Star Wars movie were filmed, the most important one being Tozeur, which featured prominently in the very first Star Wars film more than 40 years ago. There are 40 million organised Star Wars fans on our planet, including many in China. A growing number of them to be found soon in the Tunisian desert expecting you can.

May the Force be with you!

The COTRI Weekly Team

Image: Beijing, Tiananmen Square, Monument to the People’s Heroes and the Mao Zedong Mausoleum by Arian Zwegers, Source: Flickr, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)