CHINA SUMMIT Panel Discussion

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS

Dear readers,

The combined National Day Golden Week and the Mid-Autumn holiday are over. Altogether 637 million trips were reported in the only major country without a noteworthy number of CoViD-19 cases.

The Chinese tourism industry raked in 466 billion Yuan (59 billion Euro / 69 billion USD), with all the money staying in the country, as practically no outbound tourism went further than Macau SAR.

Yesterday many of you followed the COTRI panel discussion as part of the CHINA SUMMIT, thank you very much for your time and for the positive feedback which reached us. During the discussion, Dr. Berenice Pendzialek pointed out that a lot of shopping has moved online and will remain there even after international travel will be possible again. China has developed national, “patriotic” brands which can compete with international ones, Hainan Island offers new malls with tax-free shopping. To motivate Chinese visitors to visit shops abroad, the shopping itself has to become an experience and a special moment, to be shared with peers online while it is happening.

Gazmend Haxhia, the owner of Landways International, pointed out that his company kept close contacts with their Chinese partner companies during the hard times, donating masks and other equipment in the beginning of the year when China was in lockdown. They also waived most of the cancellation fees for all the groups which could not come to Europe after January 23rd. He was sure that his Chinese partners will not forget this in the coming years and he will have better relations with them than ever.

As Winston Churchill said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Richard Adam underlined the importance of Chinese tour operators and OTAs will continue to play even in times of growing customised groups and FIT. He pointed out that now for smaller destinations, being it countries or less-visited parts of major destinations, new possibilities present themselves as Chinese travellers look for more nature, fewer crowds and more contacts with locals and especially simply new places to go to. Trust is the new currency, the SG of UNWTO said some months ago, and trust is the pre-requisite for Chinese to visit destinations and to use tourism and hospitality services.

Dr. Rudy Snippe reminded the audience that we cannot but think in language and words, which makes it difficult for creating new ideas and methods as we have only the old words available for the new things. That’s why you have to step back and ask yourself “What am I really providing my customers with?”, finding that the answer is values rather than beds or sights or mobility.

Asylums and prisons used to be sights a few hundred years ago for travellers in Europe, who would never have thought to spend days on the seashore or even in the seawater, which was perceived as toxic and a hiding place for monsters. Today, and more so tomorrow, sights change from being buildings to being people we meet instead of just gazing at them.

Asked how they see China’s outbound tourism in five years from now, all panellists answered positively, pointing out the yet untapped parts of the market, the continuing wish of Chinese to see the world with their own eyes and the many virtual trips to and the tons of information gathered about places they have not been to during the lockdown period, in a word to a penned up demand which will be released when the time of international travel has come again.

The CHINA SUMMIT continues until Friday, please use the opportunity to listen to many experts, all information is on As mentioned last week already, participation is free with a basic pass, but you do have to register at:

Best wishes as always from Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the COTRI WEEKLY team!

No. 2 of the 88 Handy Hints is published today, you can find it here:

COTRI Intelligence

COTRI Intelligence is the indispensable source of weekly consulting, analysis, data and news for everybody seriously interested in the post-pandemic Chinese outbound tourism market and changing Chinese consumer preferences.  COTRI Intelligence is published by COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute and edited by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS. Regional partners and Content partners [...]

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