China is becoming one of the main source markets with huge growth potential for European tourism, said Eduardo Santander, executive director of the European Travel Commission (ETC), in an interview ahead of Friday’s launch of China-EU Tourism Year.
The ETC counts over 30 national tourism organizations as its members and is responsible for the promotion of Europe as a tourist destination.
“European destinations acknowledge the high potential of the Chinese market and the importance of tailoring targeted marketing and promotional activities to attract Chinese visitors and offer them the best travel experiences,” said Santander, adding that there are numerous initiatives or actions carried by different industries in the sector and destinations.
The ETC and the industry have, from their observation and promotion in China, witnessed changes in the behavior of Chinese tourists.
“With the growth in independent travel, many online platforms have sprung up,” Santander said. “The old stereotype of Chinese people traveling in large tour groups is being challenged by the emergence of an increasing number of independent travelers seeking unique experiences,” he said.
Europe should adapt to the changes and digitalize, he said, adding that online travel agents such as Ctrip and Alitrip (Fliggy) have become ETC’s preferred partners for promotion.
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