The Greater Bay Area – underrated tourism source market region

by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS

Dear Reader,

The efforts of China to develop international economic cooperation with the programs of the Belt and Road Initiative and the New Silk Road on land and on the sea have been coming under increasing scrutiny and outright criticism. Last week, the European Union foreign ministers agreed on an ambitious global infrastructure plan linking Europe to the world, designed to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

“We see China using economic and financial means to increase its political influence everywhere in the world. It’s useless moaning about this, we must offer alternatives,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was reported to say at the end of the foreign ministers’ summit in Brussels. Partnership deals are under discussion with India and Japan to coordinate transport, energy and digital projects connecting Europe and Asia. Last month, the G7 countries similarly agreed to back infrastructure partnerships by using Western development bank loans to rival the Belt and Road Initiative.

Already in 2018 an EU report had stated that the BRI “runs counter to the EU agenda for liberalizing trade and pushes the balance of power in favour of subsidized Chinese companies.”

The regional development projects within China is much more successful and obviously does not suffer any critical comments. Three projects target the Upper and the Middle Yangzi Region as well as the Yangzi River Delta. The fourth development region is the Greater Bay Area, which includes Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and the nine cities in Guangdong province, namely Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing. The total area is around 56 000 km², the total population is more than 85 million persons and last year the GDP reached 1,669 billion USD. The GBA was responsible for 15% of all Chinese outbound tourism in 2019.

The GITF Guangzhou International Tourism Fair is the tourism fair with the longest tradition in China. This year it will happen in a hybrid way with Virtual Booths and One-to-one meetings for international exhibitors offered for a nominal fee (contact COTRI if you are interested).  

Free of charge is however the conference COTRI is organising for GITF. One of the two panels will focus on the Greater Bay Area as an international tourism source market. There are many similarities in the demand structure of the Cantonese-speaking Chinese both in Guangdong and in the two SARs, based also on the fact that Guangdong has the longest history of international relations with the Western world, going back almost two centuries, and has always been closely related to the former Portuguese province Macao and the former British colony Hong Kong. The conference is held on August 6th between 9.00 h and 11.00 h German time / 15.00 – 17.00 h Guangzhou time.

As an added goodie for all registered participant of the workshop, a free CTT China Tourism Training online programme, worth 1,200 USD, will be the prize for a lucky draw during the workshop.

For registration please click here

If the button doesn’t work you can copy and paste the following link:

Hope to meet you virtually during the conference!

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

PS Thanks for the positive feedback for our new COTRI Talks! podcast series! Please follow the weekly podcasts at

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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