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Bruce TaylorFIRST EDITION OF IT&CMA CHINA IN SHANGHAI


By Karin De Graauw

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?
Best represented at this first edition were the large hotel groups. National Tourism Offices were not as well represented and the known Asian DMCs, with a few exceptions, were all absent, obviously wanting to wait out the results of this first edition. The Hotel chains did not hesitate though, they were all there: Starwood, InterContinental, Meliá, Hilton, Accor, Swissôtel, Meritus, Shangri-La, Nikko, Millennium & Copthorne and Mandarin Oriental. For many of these companies China is for now their largest growing market. Some like Starwood and InterContinental are even planning to double their local capacity in the coming years.

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.

More info on IT&CM and CT&TW China on www.ttgasia.com and http://itcmchina.com

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Bruce TaylorSHANGHAI:
MORE ENCHANTING, MORE FASCINATING THAN EVER …


By Laetitia Missir de Lusignan

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.

 

DIRECTION BUND
A good starting point to start discovering the cosmopolitan city is the Bund (‘weitan’ in Chinese) situated on the east bank of the river and where one finds a beautiful collection of grand houses in Art Deco style form the twenties, thirties and forties. Let us not forget that Shanghai, for nearly a century, was split up in independent enclaves governed by foreign nations who left traces visible still today.

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.
(www.m-theglamourbar.com).

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
Looking for the most spectacular road in Shanghai? This is it: Nanjing Lu ! (to be taken from the Bund) is 5,5 km long, boasts over 600 shops and is filled with a jostling crowd night and day. You can find absolutely everything on this road! Small shops selling jade and other fancy jewelry, food shops with specialties from all over the country, interior decoration shops, and small restaurants. This main artery of the city comes in its own when the sun sets and giant screens, light displays and other enormous displays come to colorful life in front of the very eyes of the masses. If you feel up to it, try a long walk with regular pit stops to relax (I recommend the green tea, excellent for your health!).

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 the year 1849, China conceded a plot of land of 66 acres to France in the heart of Shanghai. For nearly a century merchants, administrators and missionaries will take over and develop a multitude of activities whilst also relaxing in their refined clubs. One can imagine the creative and sensual atmosphere of that period.…

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
It is here that one notices best the contrasts and extremes that are permantently on show in Shanghai. Nostalgia, definitely nostalgia is looking at the old houses ‘Hutong’ or ‘Lilong’ who quite by miracle were not destroyed. You imagine yourself in a different era and a different world (washing lines with clothes suspended between houses, little stalls offering a variety of foods) and all this only 300 metres from the most modern city…This part of the south of the city is considered to be the oldest as this was the place where the old fishing village started back in the 11th century. It is wonderful place for a leisurely walk on a Sunday.

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…

 

XINTIANDI
Another Shanghai attraction is Xintiandi (www.xintiandi.com). Considered by the inhabitants and expats alike as an elegant refuge, it symbolizes the ingenuity of the architects (from Hong Kong) who totally renovated the ‘shikumen’ (traditional Shanghai Houses) to turn them into a trendy place where the latest boutiques (www.shanghaitang.com), small art galleries, pottery shops, jewelry and accessory shops of all kinds, restaurants and jazzy bars are situated. With a touch of the London Covent Garden area it is also the place where one finds the house that hosted the first congress of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921.  The good address: 88 Xintiandi (www.88xintiandi.com), a charming hotel : comfortable and well located.

 

PUDONG, FUTURISTIC TOWN
Welcome to the new city, the business centre of Shanghai. Here one comes mainly to admire the architectural prowess of the impressive buildings. And it is here that one is most aware of the delusions of grandeur of which this city is so proud. The Oriental Pearl Tower (the tallest television tower in Asia and the 3rd tallest in the world) is 468 meters high and offers breathtaking views of Shanghai ! Then there is the 88-stories Jin Mao Tower completed in 1999. It is 420.5 meters tall and covers an area of 2.3 hectares.
The architect, Adrian D. Smith, of this skyscraper ingeniously combined the elements of traditional Chinese culture with the newest architectural styles of the time, which makes Jin Mao Tower one of the best-constructed buildings in China. This building includes modern offices, a deluxe 5-star hotel - the Grand Hyatt Shanghai, exhibition halls, banquet halls, an observation deck, and entertainment facilities. The 53rd to 87th floors are reserved for the deluxe Grand Hyatt Hotel of which, the 86th floor houses a club exclusive for the hotel guests and the 87th floor lodges the hotel restaurant; and, the 88th floor-the highest floor, is reserved for the tower's observation deck, which can hold 1000 people at any one time. (www.shanghai.grand.hyatt.com).

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
If you have a few days left over, do not miss out on visiting, 2 hrs north of Shanghai the city of Suzhou (80 km), ideal for a long weekend. Marco Polo called it the Venice of the Orient, it is one of the oldest cities of the Yang-tsé-Kiang area: pearls and incredible embroideries, but also beautiful gardens, some of which are on the Unesco List of World Patrimony, a heaven of tranquility. A good address to stay: the Sheraton Suzhou in the town centre with a total of 70 rooms mainly aimed at business travelers. (www.sheraton.com/suzhou).

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!

 

OTHER GOOD ADDRESSES:
To sleep:
The Westin Hotel(www.westin.com/shanghai) situated on the Bund Center with a coupola shaped as a lotus flower (don’t miss the Westin Brunch, a feast where champagne flows ! The hotel has a Spa by Banyan Tree where the massages are divine! (www.banyantreespa.com/shanghai)

The Four Seasons Shanghai (www.fourseasons.com/shanghai) is always a pleasant experience. (Italian and Asian fusion cooking, Spa with a great choice of treatments). The JW Marriott Shanghai (www.marriotthotels.com/shajw): 342 rooms, Spa Mandara and business centre open 24/24.situated quite near the People’s Place and Nanjing Lu pedestrian area. 

For the modern art lovers :
The famous Shanghart Gallery (www.shanghartgallery.com) is still the ultimate reference. It is a vast depot of more than 1200 m² filled to the brim with Chinese contemporary art. More than 30 artists are represented; take your time for a conversation with the gallery employees, they may tell you the dates for the next opening night which could be interesting to be invited to.

For info :
Contact the ANSEL Agency,
The specialist  n°1 for business travel to China
34, av. des Champs Elysées, 75008 Paris- France
Tel : 00 33 1 45 62 31 89
E mail : anselasie@anseltravel.com
www.anseltravel.com

‘La Maison de la Chine’ in Paris : www.maisondelachine.fr  
76, rue Bonaparte, Place Saint Sulpice, 75006 Paris-France
Tel : 00 33 1 40 51 95 00.
E mail : info@maisondelachine.fr
 
China Tourist Office in Paris:
15 rue de Berri 75015 Paris. Tel : 00 33 1 56 59 10 10.

In Shanghai : 25, Zhongshan dongyilu. Tel: (00 86 21) 6333 22 26-Voir http://lyw.sh.gov.cn/en

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PHOTO GALLERY ON SHANGHAI


By Fernando Arias

For more pictures on Shanghai please click here

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CLUB CHINE
In Belgium we created Club Chine a couple of years ago. What exactly is it?
Club Chine is a non-profit organisation that joins public and private resources to promote Belgium in China.
Its members are private and public organisations active in leisure and business tourism hotels, tourist attractions, tour operators…based in Belgium at the cross roads of Europe’s main cities.

Club Chine acts as well in China as in Belgium.
They attend mainly to:

- Create a better understanding of both countries as well as of their needs.
- To be recognised as the ideal partner between China and Belgium.
- To help the Belgian partners to create products that answers the needs the Chinese tourists.
- To give the Chinese professionals insight in the Belgian travel market and meeting industry.

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!
Belgium/Wallonia’s Club Chine won a Silver Award in the marketing category of the prestigious CTW Chinese Tourists Welcoming Awards 2007 which were presented on 14 May in Beijing at the China Outbound Travel & Tourism Mart.

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.
                                                                                                      
In turn OPT’s China specialists, Dominique André & Thierry Mandos, handed over the Award Certificate to Wallonia’s Tourism Minister, Benoît Lutgen at a press conference at Fondation Folon on 18 May. It was due recognition for the Minister and his belief in & special support for Club Chine since its creation in 2005.

CONGRATULATIONS, CLUB CHINE!!

Contact in Belgium :
Dominique André
Responsible for the Chinese market - Office de Promotion du Tourisme Wallonie- Bruxelles 
(Tourist Office Brussels & Wallonia)
Tel  : +32 (0)2  504 02 62 -  dominique.andre@opt.be

Contact in China
Thierry Mandos, Manager
Rm 1811, China Merchants Tower, n° 118
Jian Guo Road Chao Yang District,
Beijing 100022 .R. China
Tel: +86 (0)10-5923 3861
info@bioulvyou.cn - www.bioulvyou.cn

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BELGIAN ECONOMIC MISSION TO CHINA
At the occasion of the Belgian economic mission to China, lead by HRH Prince Phillipe this month, there will be seminars on the following topics:

The fast-growing Chinese travel market: amazing opportunities, huge obstacles.
An overview from a legal, industrial and administrative perspective

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:
-Beijing, hotel
18 June 2007 from 2.30pm to 4.30 pm (followed by a Cocktail reception)
-Shanghai
26 June 2007 from 2pm to 4 pm (followed by a Cocktail reception)
More info: Club Chine, www.clubchine.be

 

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