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What can we learn from the pandemic for a better Urban Tourism?

Opening Press Conference of ITB Berlin NOW

Experts from Asia and Europe discuss New Practices for the “New Normal” at ITB Berlin NOW.

Hamburg, Germany – ITB Berlin, the biggest tourism fair in the world, is yet another victim of the virus. However, the fair is still happening in virtual form, with online presentations and panel discussions forming a major part in it.

On March 11th, 2021 a special session is offered by the WTCF World Tourism Cities Federation and COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, chaired by the CEO of COTRI, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt

The Chinese Foreign Ministry just announced that China will issue a vaccination passport to re-start international tourism, which is good news for the global tourism industry, eagerly waiting for customers from the biggest global outbound tourism source market to return to the global stage.

China will also take center stage in the discussions during the panel discussion with experts from Asia and Europe. A preview of the insights provided shows the many aspects of the new, post-pandemic urban tourism development.

Jason Wang, COO of the Global Tourism Economic Forum in Macau sets the scene: “The Chinese Government is putting efforts more than ever in narrowing the income gap. In the years to come, hundreds of million Chinese will join the Chinese middle class, and to travel internationally is top on their wish lists.” 

Bowen Sun, the Vice Secretary General of the Institute in China has a word of caution: “There will be a strong competition including also competitive prices after the Chinese outbound tourism market opens up again.”

Kum Hong Siew, the COO of Airbnb China points out: “Meaningful tourism will become more important in post-pandemic times for Chinese and other international travellers.”  

Olivier Ponti, Vice President Insights of ForwardKeys, based in Spain, is optimistic that there will be a positive future for global tourism: “Post-pandemic, sadly there will not be a magical ‘Reset’ button that will bring back travel and tourism to its previous level. But I feel the industry can come out of this stronger and better than before with a new refreshing outlook and strategy due to access to quality data.”

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt, CEO of COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, based in Hamburg, summarizes the discussion: All panelists agree that quality and digitalization are two important aspects that need improvement to better serve Chinese visitors in post-pandemic times. 

Quality and digitalization are also key aspects of the ADVANTAGE: TOURISM programme to re-start Chinese outbound tourism.

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