Wednesday next week, 3rd of February, Island Innovation in partnership with COTRI is offering free of charge a 90 –minute webinar providing a comprehensive overview of methods to start a sustainable engagement with Chinese post-pandemic visitors to island destinations.
At first sight, Greenland and Fiji or Jeju and Zanzibar do not have much in common. However, in spite of differences in size, location, climate or number of inhabitants, they share a number of common traits. For most islands inbound tourism is a major source of income, for some island states like for instance the Maldives there are in fact very few alternatives to welcoming visitors from afar for their national economy, with domestic tourism not an alternative for lack of (affluent) local citizens.
Islands also share limited carrying capacities, fragile ecosystems and a lack of large enterprises with strong investment power. They are almost always reachable only by boat or, more importantly for major source markets, aircraft. Management positions in tourism and hospitality enterprises are more often than not filled with foreign experts as many smaller islands lack universities or other Higher Education Institutions to train their youngsters for a career that goes beyond working as waitress or guard. Only public jobs in tourism marketing organisations or ministries are more likely to be filled with locals.
Chinese travellers have developed in the past decade an appetite for island tourism, with Jeju, Bali, Guam, Phuket or the Maldives as famous destinations for honeymoon and family trips. The more adventurous and affluent used to venture further away to Jamaica or Fiji before the virus struck last year.
Island destinations had mixed experiences in the past with the Chinese market, often getting too much of a good thing in the form of planeloads of island-hopping package group members crashing into an infrastructure build for individual visitors staying for longer periods of time. To re-start Chinese outbound tourism after the finally foreseeable end of the pandemic in a more sustainable way than before, a new approach is needed.
In the webinar on Feb. 3rd, your humble editor will give a keynote presentation, followed by a panel with three experts who will discuss the methods for attracting and satisfying other sections of the Chinese source markets. Hans Lagerweij, CEO of Albatros Travel, will talk about special trips for Chinese travellers to Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard. Anita Chan, CEO of Compass Edge, will enlighten the participants on the best ways of digitalisation and Richard Adam, CEO of Trend Transfer and Senior Expert of ADVANTAGE: TOURISM, will present this programme which was especially established for the sustainable Recovery and Resilience of Chinese outbound tourism for destinations that cannot and will not concentrate on just the numbers of Chinese arrivals. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions to the panellists, James Ellsmoor, the MD of Island Innovation and myself.
Many tips and insights will not only be interesting for island destinations but also for everybody else who is interested in the Chinese outbound market during the new decade. Registration is possible on the official website of Island Innovation.
For those who cannot watch live during 15:00 and 16:30 h GMT (10:00 h Jamaica time, 23:00 h Bali time), the webinar will be available as a recording for download.
As always, all best wishes for the week from Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the COTRI Weekly team!
The video version of this editorial is available on our YouTube Channel. Here you will also find the January 2021 edition of the CTT Alumni Network Update with a look back to the development of China’s outbound tourism in 2020 and the likely post-virus way forward.