What do you like best?

by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS

One day Christopher Robin asked Winnie-the-Pooh: “What do you like best in the world, Pooh?” “Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best” – and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.

Most of you, dear readers, will certainly remember the pre-pandemic time when “eating honey” in the tourism industry was so much easier than it has been in the past 18 months. In most parts of the world the point of happy anticipation Winnie-the-Pooh describes has not yet been reached, as the honeypot seems to be already in sight but somehow still out of grasp. That is surely true for China’s outbound tourism, which will depend on the government finding a way out of the corner into which it has painted itself with a Zero-Case policy which would mean closed borders ad infinitum and is clearly neither sustainable nor making sense as like other diseases the SARS2-CoV19 will be with us for the next 10,000 years, but will be increasingly manageable and less and less dangerous with the help of vaccinations and treatments. In China, not a single person died of CoViD-19 in the last six months, in the European Union, more half of all adult citizens are fully vaccinated.

In any way, sooner or later Chinese will start to travel again internationally, probably students and business people and persons travelling for family reasons first, with lots of leisure travellers following. A recent report by the European Travel Commission shows that most European NTOs are playing chicken and plan to concentrate on domestic and neighbouring markets, not the least because they have enough affluent citizens and neighbours to sustain at least parts (not aviation, MICE, luxury tourism, etc.) of the industry for a while.

“Marketing for domestic tourism” is in position two on a list of European NTOs’ activities expected to increase the most in the next five years, with “Innovation” only on position six. At least, as a researcher, your humble editor is happy to see “Research/Market Research/Trends” on the pole position.

Therefore, it seems that for forwarding looking destinations and tourism service providers in Europe and especially on other continents there will be a good opportunity to grab a bigger or even for the first time a piece of the pie by preparing now the Meaningful Tourism offers to attract the coming Chinese visitors.

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

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