Editorial: Phoenix rising from the ashes

by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS

When your humble editor reached the age of 4 ½ years, the Berlin Wall went up and cut off the contact with many relatives who happened to live in the Eastern part of the city. At 5 ½ years, the Cuba crisis made all adults very nervous and in the following year John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas only a few months after proclaiming on the balcony of the temporary town hall of West Berlin “Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis Romanus sum. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is Ich bin ein Berliner.” All pupils, including us first-graders, were ordered to sit in the school auditorium to view the funeral. Everybody was convinced: Now the Russians will come and take over West Berlin. The “Russians” and the East German border guards were the permanent contestants in the casting for childhood nightmares, and any unexpected knock on the door was customarily commented with the only half-joking remark “Have the Russians finally arrived?”.

Whenever the relations between the Soviet Union and the USA reached a new low, Russian jets would break the sound barrier with a loud bang over West-Berlin to scare the citizens, who got an eight percent bonus on top of their wages from the government to reward their bravery of staying in the city. Many international visitors to Germany did not dare to visit West Berlin, fearing getting trapped. 

Udo Lindenberg, a German rock star, summed it up in 1984 with the hit song “It takes 15 minutes for the Russians to arrive at the Kurfürstendamm” (the Champs-Élysées of West-Berlin).

Today, witnessing a Russian invasion of a peaceful neighbouring country with tanks and of the 3rd World War returning as an actual possibility feels so 1970s, triggering a strong experience of déjà vu for Europeans the age of your humble editor, but producing a scary new experience, especially for those with grandparents born after the 2nd World War.  

Assuming that WW3 will not happen, after all, the invasion of Ukraine as commanded by the ruler of Russia might turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Waking up to the dangers and getting a sharpened view of the enemies of “Mr. Science” and “Mr. Democracy” (as these new forces were named in China in the New Culture Movement of the 1920s) outside and within liberal societies seems to help achieve a renewed unity and a refocusing on what is important. If we are lucky, 2023 might turn out to be not only a post-CoViD-19 but also a post-dictatorship world. 

In the short run, closed airspaces and closed borders hurt tourism. In the long run, it might help to start a more Meaningful Tourism, with meetings and exchanges between people, bringing hospitality in its original sense back to the centre of attention. In tourism, we are certainly aware of the fact that the invasion is not an action started by the people, but by the government, and that meeting strangers help to stop strangers from shooting at each other, at least in most cases.

It is in this spirit, supported also by the expected restart of international tourism in most parts of the world, that COTRI has just published the online CTT China Tourism Training – Edition 2022 programme. The Edition 2022, updated for the post-pandemic Chinese outbound tourism, is organised in two parts: The BASIC CTT – Edition 2022 is an introduction concentrating on the characteristics and background of Chinese outbound travellers and the Chinese outbound market. The compact form and the affordable price should make it desirable and useful for laying the foundation of the future Chinese source market strategy for all private and public tourism service providers. 

The five ADVANCED CTT – Edition 2022 for Hospitality, Destinations and Tour Operators, Retailers, Attractions and Transportation branches add information on communication and distribution channels and branch-specific topics for a complete up-to-date enactable understanding and application.

As always, all best wishes from Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the whole COTRI WEEKLY team! 

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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