First with the Latest Business Travel News
TTG Media Asia and MPI – Meeting Professionals International – China organized the first edition of the professional fair IT&CM China - Incentive Travel and Conventions Meetings China in Shanghai. At the same time also ran the CT&TW - Corporate Travel & Technology World, co-organized by NBTA – the National Business Travel Association. Both events are in fact the extension of the famous IT&CMA and CTW, which later this year will celebrate respectively their 15th and 10th anniversary in Bangkok.
The new MICE trade fair has a double goal: to promote China on the world market of the MICE industry and on the other hand to introduce China to the worldwide offer of the MICE industry. About fifteen hundred sellers, buyers, media and travel trade professionals participated in both events. Of the 200 buyers present about 50% came from China. This is a normal result from the efforts made by the organizers to have both the national and the international market fifty fifty present at the fair. No Belgian buyers this year but this will surely change next year.
China is with one exception the fastest growing tourism destination in the world and the country also already today takes the 2nd place in the top 10 of tourism destination worldwide. The World Travel & Tourism Council predicts that China between 2007 and 2016 will show a yearly average growth of 8.7 percent. In comparison to most of the Western countries the MICE industry is still in its infancy in China and there is even a marked shortage of professional DMCs specialized in incentives and meetings. And this is exactly what was highlighted at IT&CM China and CT&TW. As China was always the big absentee at previous editions of IT&CMA and CTW, the organizers thought best to take the show to them. And obviously this was a great success.
WHERE WERE THE NATIONAL TOURISM OFFICES?
From April 8 till 11 2008, in the so important Olympic year for China, the second edition of the IT&CM and CT&TW China will again take place in Shanghai. The organizers not only want to see an increase in the number of sellers, but the number of buyers will be increased from 200 to 300, never losing sight of the equilibrium between the local and the international market. TTG Asia & co do not fear for the competition, on the contrary, the new ITB Asia in Singapore next year is positioned as “selling the world to Asia”. ATF continues to represent the niche leisure market to international buyers and the PATA Travel Mart only promotes Asia Pacific whilst rotating from country to country.
Nothing stops Shanghai! With its different boroughs, the ever growing huge city is non-stop competing with the most frenetic and avant-garde cities on this planet. The city tries to define its very complex identity, a fine balancing act between its more than a thousand year old history and futuristic modern aspects; a fascinating journey!
Landing in Shanghai brings you straight into the swing of things; barely on Chinese soil one is swept up in the flamboyant energy of the city. A 13 hours flight from Brussels yes ! China changes the outlook on the world of the traveler who never experienced the Asian way of life. It is quite difficult to get to know this totally spread out city that has become Shanghai without taking in some reference point from which to start one’s intuitive wanderings to discover its secret nooks and crannies. The city’s face has changed considerably in the last couple of years, mainly because of the competitions between the greatest architects and designers who did their utmost to outdo one another. Here everything is fast and changes 10 times more quickly than in New York.
The atmosphere this creates surprises even the best prepared traveler when discovering the city: from the new quarter called Pudong separated by the river Huangpo from the historical old city Puxi, where one can find the famous old French Concession still bubbling with activity, history and all sorts of anecdotes.
The curious visitor will remember with nostalgia this small commercial harbor which attracted first the entrepreneurs and later, those Europeans who fled from the Bolshevik regimes and brought their know-how, books, culture and art with them. By day as well as by night the promenade (2 km long) is a unique experience where one can meet the golden youth of Shanghai as well as the ‘Expats’ from most European countries. They all come here for a number of months or years to open a business, to learn Chinese or in order to try and understand the Shanghai miracle which frightens the main world powers.
During the day one can do some serious window-shopping in boutiques with great names (Prada, Giorgio Armani) at Three on the Bund (www.threeonthebund.com). At night the Bund offers spectacular views of Pudong to be admired before sampling the nightlife at 18 on the Bund (www.bund18.com) which is home to the famous red bar which has not emptied since months, the ambiance is that electric! This is also home to the famous restaurant Sens et Bund (by the Pourcel Brothers) awarded 3 stars (www.resto18.com) by the guide Michelin (French and Mediterranean cuisine). A little bit further on is the Glamour bar who, as indicated by the name, attracts the fashionistas of Shanghai until the early hours of the morning.
And for the more romantically inclined, I nearly forgot to mention the nocturnal cruises on the river Huangpu departing from the embarkation point of the Shanghai Huangpu River Cruise (Zhongshan Donger Road. Tel : 6374 4461): a real treat because Shanghai shows itself from East to West with views of some of the most spectacular buildings.
ON NANJING ROAD
Walking is definitely the best way to discover the charms of Nanjing lu and not miss anything. About halfway up the Road when starting from the Bund you will find the People’s Square famous for its proliferation of remarkable feats of architecture: the Great Shanghai Theatre, The Shanghai Museum housing aver 120.000 treasures (bronzes, potteries, calligraphies, costumes of the 56 ethnic minorities in China, etc), the exhibition hall of the Shanghai Bureau for City Development where a clock shows the countdown in seconds to 2010, year of the Universal Exhibition. Visitors can discover a scaled version of Shanghai in 3 years from now before going to the top floor of the Barbarossa (www.barbarossa.com.cn) with its impressive terrace and views to take part in an oriental luncheon.
SWEET LIVING IN THE OLD FRENCH QUARTER..
In 1914, the concession is at its largest with over 1022 acres and 150.000 inhabitants of all nationalities. Today it is spread over 10 km² and easily recognizable because of its spacious avenues lined with great trees, antique shops or other interior decoration boutiques. This is where one finds the small restaurants with refined decoration where the expats brunch every Sunday. The best place to start a discovery tour is from the Jing An Temple (a subway stop has the same name). From there start exploring, do not miss out on Fuxing parc and end up on Huaihai Lu, the street of the luxury boutiques. Not to miss for its décor and Thai food: the Face Bar (118 Ruijin 2 Road-T: 86 21 6466 43 28) situated in a super bold house (you can lounge on a luxurious opium bed…), Sasha’s (www.sashas-shanghai.com), a colonial house on 3 floors and one of the ‘in’ places winter and summer, la Villa Rouge (811, Hengshan Lu -T : 86 21 64 31 98 11) nestled in the Xu Jia Hui parc(careful ! very sophisticated and very expensive). Make sure to also get a copy of the That’s Shanghai magazine for the latest hot addresses as everything changes quickly in Shanghai.
THE CHARMS OF NANSHI, THE OLD CITY
On Dong Tai Lu, you will discover the flea market, a succession of small stalls where textiles, china, jewelry and old ‘objets d’art’ can be found. An even more romantic place to visit is the Yuyuan Garden, the largest antique garden of Shanghai. Build between 1559 and 1577 under the Ming Dynasty for Pan En, a courtier from Szechuan, it is over 2 acres large and laid out in the purest of old Chinese garden tradition: fantasy pavilions, ‘trompe l’œil’ perspectives, zigzagging paths. There is even a small theatre with the stage decorated in sculpted woodwork and gilded flowers. A real little gem…
PUDONG, FUTURISTIC TOWN
Do not forget to visit the Pudong Shangri-La Hôtel (www.shangri-la.com): The Sunday brunch at the Yi-Café offers an orgy of very refined buffets! The building in the meantime continues and many more spectacular skyscrapers will no doubt been added to the Shanghai skyline in the coming years.
EXCURSIONS AROUND SHANGHAI
The city of Hangzhou (South of Shanghai), on the other hand is a marvel of contrasting emotions ( www.hangzhouexpat.com or www.gotohz.com). Initially it was the capital of the Song Dynasty, who made it the most important city in China back in the 13th Century. ‘A divine city, the prettiest and the most magnificent in the world, where one can find so many pleasures, one could think oneself in paradise’, said Marco Polo. It is mainly the splendour of its “Lake of the West” that speaks to the imagination: 14 km of gardens, pavilions, temples that have inspired emperors, poets and thinkers over the centuries.
Early risers can observe local inhabitants practising taï chi to a background of enticing music and, at sunset, the romantic souls will be delighted with the reflections of the dying sun on the lake and its reflection of the thousands of weeping willows. Other attractions to be seen: the Solitary hill host to the Provincial Museum of Zejiang, the Lingyintemple or ‘temple of the retreat of the soul’ that, at one stage, was home to over 3000 monks, and the island Xiao Ying which offers magnificent views of the 3 Pagodas on the Lake. Hangzhou is also famous for its tea.
For a little rest after the frenzied pace of Shanghai, take a room at the Fuchun Resort (www.fuchunresort.com) on the borders of a romantic lake. On the program: dreamy massages, taï chi, yoga and great local food. Bon voyage and happy discovery of a great city!
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For more pictures on Shanghai please click here
Club Chine acts as well in China as in Belgium.
- Create a better understanding of both countries as well as of their needs.
Moreover Club Chine is a not profit organisation, and as such most of its services are free of charge but as private businesses, its members may charge for theirs.
Club Chine has a bilingual brochure (English – Chinese) to learn more about the destination. www.clubchine.be
Stop press – Club Chine wins silver!
The Awards were started 4 years ago under the auspices of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute to recognise hoteliers, attractions, tourist offices, DMCs etc. in Europe for best-practice in welcoming visitors from China.
In 2007 the competition was opened up for the first time to the whole world, so Club Chine’s achievement is even more remarkable after only 2 short years of existence. An excellent 48-page illustrated presentation was produced by Dominique André and the jury, composed mainly of distinguished figures in Chinese tourism, must have certainly been impressed.
CONGRATULATIONS, CLUB CHINE!!
Contact in Belgium :
The fast-growing Chinese travel market: amazing opportunities, huge obstacles.
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) the Chinese market has become one of the great expectations of inbound tourist industries worldwide. It predicts outbound travel to reach not less then 100 million tourists by 2020. The Chinese outbound market has indeed been expanding extremely fast: it leapt from 20 million in 2003 to some 31 million in 2005. But for the time being only 5% went to Europe. If forecasts confirm, Europe may expect to receive at least 5 million Chinese visitors by 2020.
Many countries worldwide have rushed to sign “Approved Destination Status” (ADS) agreements with the Chinese authorities that allow them to receive Chinese leisure tourist travel groups. The granting to EU countries of Approved Destination Status was supposed to herald a boom in Chinese travel. So was the direct flight between Brussels and Beijing, as far as Belgium is concerned.
But while China is considered a high return market, it is also a high risk market. Are we, Belgium and Europe, really prepared to face the challenge of this new market? Does our travel industry really believe in the future of Chinese tourism? Are the current public and private initiatives enough to boast Chinese travel to Europe? Should we do more or do we think this market is not profitable enough? How does the ADS agreement work and how it is applied in practice? Are our neighbouring countries following the same “China” strategy?
Conversely, are the Chinese travel professionals and tourists really attracted by Belgium and Europe? What do they expect from our authorities and travel industry? How will the needs of Chinese tourists evolve over the coming years, especially those of the growing, wealthier middle class? What are the legal and administrative hurdles that Chinese tourists have to deal with if they want to travel to Europe? What about the visa policies of both China and Europe? What are the Chinese rules for foreign investment in tourism?
These are only a few questions that will be handled by our experienced speakers, who will express their view both from a Belgian/European and a Chinese perspective. The exchange among the speakers and professionals present, will hopefully lead to a common conclusion that will be handed over the competent tourism authorities and to the travel community.
Venue and dates: