A view from the top

ITB China director and general manager David Axiotis looks toward the upcoming show

China has become the driving force for the growth of the global travel & tourism industry. In the run-up to ITB China 2019, we asked David Axiotis how he sees the market performing this year…

Despite the slowdown of the overall growth of the Chinese economy, I am pretty sure it will maintain and further strengthen its position in the long run, too. Furthermore, reaching out beyond the comparatively established and mature markets of the first-tier cities of the east coast is crucial. There is so much happening all over the country with new airports popping up and subsequently there will also be new direct outbound flight connections launched all over China. This, paired with a constant and signi cant growth of nancial wealth in second-tier cities boosting a rise in demand for travel products, clearly shows where the overall market drivers are.

AT ITB CHINA IN SHANGHAI, WE BRING TOGETHER 850 HAND-SELECTED BUYERS FROM GREATER CHINA WITH INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD

Besides the overall market perspective, we need, however, to also consider the behavioural developments of the different types of Chinese travellers. Whereas first-time travellers from rising source-regions will rather follow the pattern of guided group travels and thus enjoy an organized framework that they can hold on to while being inexperienced, things change fast when it comes to repeated travellers. For them it is more about diving deeper into regions, cultures or specific topics and experiencing more of the local lifestyle or focus on themes such as adventure and culture when traveling abroad. There is a much stronger focus on the quest for unique and personal experiences.

It is a fact that the industry players, both Chinese and international ones, will have to adapt their marketing approaches, supply-chains and generally offerings to. To assist them with these exchanges is also the main reason why we are introducing customized and themed travel as our overarching trend topic for ITB China this year.

What are the key reasons for exhibitors to participate in ITB China?

With China increasingly becoming the driving force for the growth of the global travel industry, ITB China has thus already established itself as the must-attend event for anyone looking to build a strong presence in China. We are covering the whole bandwidth of the Chinese travel industry, notably leisure, corporate, MICE and Travel Technology on a national level.

At ITB China in Shanghai, we bring together 850 hand-selected buyers from Greater China with industry professionals from all over the world. Running parallel, the ITB China Conference enables unprecedented knowledge transfer throughout the show. We provide various networking events and a unique state of the art matchmaking system in order to enhance networking and to maximize business opportunities at our show. As such, ITB China is and remains a unique event in China.

You have several major partners for different aspects of the show. Please tell us a little more about them.

Our partners’ support has been the key to our success since our inception, and this year we’ve continued to strengthen existing relationships and forge new partnerships for a successful future: Italy is the official Partner Destination and will also be the largest national exhibitor. For the second time in a row, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has become the official Partner Hotel. Air China will be the partner airline of this year’s show marking the first time that China’s national flag carrier will hold this title. The China Tourism Association also renewed their strategic partnership and Messe Berlin as the corporate headquarter of ITB China has recently become member of the World Tourism Alliance (WTA). Our new ITB China Travel Trends Report 2019 includes the most recent topics impacting the Chinese travel industry, which are Customized and Themed Travel, with special focus on: Island travel, Adventure travel, Sports travel and Culture travel. We have gained sound partners for these segments: The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) has been confirmed as the Adventure Travel Partner, the Bahamas became Island Travel Partner, Israel is Culture Travel Partner and JTB Sports Travel partner at this year’s show.

Photo: David Axiotis, Director and General Manager, ITB China