EDITORIAL: CTW Awards 2018

The CTW Awards will return at ITB China 2018

by Christopher Ledsham, M.A.

The free application period for the fifteenth annual instalment of the CTW Chinese Tourist Welcome Awards opened last week, with submissions being accepted until Thursday April 12th.

The event will be held for the second time at ITB China at Shanghai’s World Expo and Exhibition Center between Wednesday 16th and Friday 18th May, 2018, having already been held at ITB’s inaugural Chinese event in 2017. As has been the case each year so far, Gold, Silver and Bronze awards will be presented in the categories of: Product Innovation, Internet/Media, Service Quality, Marketing and Overall Performance. Winners for each category will be hand-picked by a panel of experienced tourism experts of both Chinese and non-Chinese backgrounds.

The CTW Awards were first held at ITB Berlin in 2004 at a time when the concept of Chinese outbound tourism was still somewhat a niche in itself; by the end of that year, Chinese nationals accounted for 29 million border crossings worldwide, the majority (22 million, equating to 76%) of which were within the Greater China and only 7 million were made to rest-of-the-world destinations.  For 2018, however, COTRI has forecast that 154 million outbound trips will be made by Chinese passport holders, 85.6 million (56%) of which, will be to destinations beyond Greater China.

The past fourteen CTW Awards events have seen winners drawn from a wide range of organisations, including governmental ministries, tourism boards and airports from around the world, as well as other numerous famous companies including the Hard Rock Café, Mao Yu Ting (TripAdvisor China, formerly known as Daodao) and Manchester City Football Club, who won a Gold award in the Overall Performance in 2016 following Chinese president (and Manchester United fan) Xi Jinping’s October 2015 visit to the club during his official State Visit to the United Kingdom.

Finnish-based cruise company Tallink Silja, which started to see Chinese passengers making use of its services in the early 2000s, was awarded with Bronze in the Overall category in 2015. Tallink Silja International Sales Manager Olga Vanbergen, who worked to improve services with Chinese Sales Manager Danjun Qian, explained that her company’s approach to the Chinese market has been “thought through carefully and developed over a number of years” in order to fully reflect its ethos of focusing on “superior quality and attention to detail.”

In addition to adding a number of key services including appropriate food options, on board AliPay and UnionPay payment facilities and an online Chinese-language booking system, Vanbergen highlighted the “cultural training of our office staff” as well as “regular sales calls, participation in B2B and B2C meetings and events in China and full support for Chinese national celebrations” as key steps in promoting further engagement with the Chinese market.

As well as serving as proof of their commitment to their Chinese outbound customer base, many past CTW Award winners have found that their success has enabled them to secure a bigger budget allocation for the Chinese market segment. While many have gone to show off their prize-winning status on their website or business cards, one past winner from Bangladesh has even been spotted at numerous industry fairs and events exhibiting a large stuffed toy tiger cloaked in a shawl with the COTRI logo stitched into the side of it.

For all of those interested in submitting a free application for this year’s CTW Awards competition, all relevant application forms and other information can be found at https://china-outbound.com/ctw-awards/. The application window closes on Thursday April 12th, 2018.

 

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