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ITB China 2024: Robust growth in Chinese travel industry

ITB China
copyright: ITB China

ITB China 2024 concludes with over 15,000 attendees and 27,500 business meetings, highlighting the strong recovery and growth of China’s travel market.

ITB China 2024 has concluded its fifth edition, marking an unprecedented year of regrowth and optimism for the Chinese travel industry. More than 15,000 attendees, over 1000 selected buyers, and around 250 media representatives participated in the event, underlining the high demand and increased interest of and in the Chinese travel market. The show facilitated +27,500 business meetings, reflecting the vibrant business atmosphere and eagerness for face-to-face interactions during all three days. With over 600 exhibitors from more than 80 countries, the event highlighted the robust recovery and further potential of China’s travel market.

Since 2023, China’s travel market has been on a steady upward trajectory, supported by improved visa policies and increased flight capacity. This year, ITB China demonstrated not only the recovery of the market but also the strong demand and increased interest from global partners, signaling the potential for continued growth.

David Axiotis, Vice President of China at Messe Berlin, reflected on ITB China 2024, stating, “The success of ITB China 2024 underscores the resilience and potential of China’s travel industry. Our show has set a new benchmark for industry events. It is propelling the Chinese travel market to new heights, fostering global partnerships, and driving industry growth. As we look ahead, we remain committed to supporting the travel community and facilitating opportunities for business expansion and innovation”.

On 27 May, the distinguished guests of ITB China 2024 attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including:

  • Dr. Mario Tobias, CEO, Messe Berlin GmbH
  • Mr. Ibrahim Faisal, Minister of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Maldives
  • Mr. David Axiotis, Vice President China, Messe Berlin GmbH
  • Mr. Liu Shijun, Vice Chair and Secretary-General, World Tourism Alliance (WTA)
  • Ms. Chen Baiyu, President, of the China Association of Travel Services (CATS)
  • Mr. Xiong Xing, COO, Group

ITB China 2

Summit of Travel Industry Leaders

The newly launched ITB China 2024 C-Talks set the stage for an impactful gathering of the highest level. This exclusive closed-door event brought together presidents, founders and C-level executives from China’s top travel agencies with highest-level destination representatives and international tourism leaders, addressing key topics of the Chinese and global travel industry, such as China’s outbound travel recovery, increased demand for local experiences, and future trends in the travel industry. The successful completion of the C-Talks event demonstrates the influence and ability of ITB China to bring together the key players of the Chinese market and global travel industry.

Together with Partner Destination Maldives, the Grand Opening Dinner featured 600 esteemed guests and VIP from the global and Chinese travel industry. Welcome speeches were given by Dr. Mario Tobias, CEO of Messe Berlin; Zihuny Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation and Liu Shijun, Vice Chair and Secretary-General of WTA.

More than 600 Exhibitors and 1000 hand-selected top buyers engaged in over 27,500 meetings, fostering partnerships, new collaborations and business. The positive feedback from attendees underscores ITB China’s positioning as China’s premier travel event.

Zihury Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of MMPRC, this year’s Partner Destination, noted, “We decided to participate in ITB China on this scale because it is the perfect place for B2B networking and meetings, as well as meeting the right media. As this year’s Partner Destination, we’ve had a very successful show. The quality of the visitors was excellent, we’ve had high-level meetings with serious buyers and very engaged visitors throughout the show”.

Mr. Zhang Nan, Managing Director of China Comfort Travel noted: “This year’s show was great, with huge traffic. I saw many global destinations joined by their local travel companies and agencies showcasing their products. Additionally, there was a significant increase in the number of Chinese buyers. I look forward to seeing ITB China continue to improve and foster even more synergistic cooperation between overseas suppliers and their Chinese partners.”

Sally Sedky, Head of Tourism Marketing, Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority: “ITB China is one of the most important platforms, we are very impressed with the quality of the buyers and we can see that there is potential for future partnerships with the travel trade in China. We are just starting out in the Chinese market and being at ITB China is a very important platform to maintain that.”

Mr. Yan Zheng, Vice President of Grand China MICE and General Manager of its Shanghai branch: “In the first half of 2024, we observed significant growth in the outbound travel market. Both the number of groups and the scale of business have increased, with demand far exceeding that of last year. I attend ITB China every year, and the resources offered by destinations this year align closely with our needs. Additionally, products from niche destinations have proven very helpful to us”.

ITB China 3

copyright: ITB China

Spotlight on Inbound Travel and MICE segment

With recent visa policy adjustments favoring inbound travel to China, ITB China experienced increased interest from international stakeholders. ITB China 2024 kicked off with the Beijing Night together with the Beijing Municipal Culture and Tourism Bureau and China Tourism Group on the eve of the show, a culturally inspired networking event designed to promote inbound tourism specifically to the Beijing region.

The “Chinese Tourism Destination Overseas Marketing Workshop” on 28 May was also highly successful, fostering valuable discussions on leveraging China’s inbound travel through branding campaigns and the highlighting of scenic landscapes and convenient, modern infrastructure. The workshop attracted a diverse range of participants, including international media, buyers, travel companies, Chinese destinations, local hotels, and travel agencies. Exhibitors from more than 10 Chinese destinations, including Beijing, Lhasa, Chengdu, Shanghai, Ningxia, Guangxi, Shaanxi, Fujian, Jiangsu, and Guangzhou, participated in the workshop.

Zhang KeXiong, Assistant General Manager of CTG Travel, President of Inbound Tourism Branch of China Association of Travel Services: “I was immediately impressed by the significant increase in the variety of exhibitors and the number of participating countries. Additionally, from the perspective of the attendees, the number of visitors has far exceeded that of any other exhibition I’ve attended in China so far. I feel that the spring of travel, especially for inbound tourism, is upon us, and ITB China is an excellent platform for us to conduct business with overseas travel agents and suppliers”.

The launch of the China Inbound Travel segment provided insights into tapping into the Chinese tourism market, underlined by a MOU signing ceremony between the German Travel Association, DRV, and ITB China. The MOU was signed by Norbert Fiebig, President of the German Travel Association (DRV) and Dr. Mario Tobias, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH, marking a significant step in strengthening towards enhancing cooperation and fostering growth in the tourism sectors of both regions.

This year’s event also highlighted MICE and Corporate Travel, drawing attention from both exhibitors and over 800 buyers. A special speed-dating event facilitated face-to-face meetings between 40 high-level corporate buyers and exhibitors.

With 100 high-profile speakers covering more than 50 topics, the ITB China Conference served as a knowledge hub, providing attendees with market insights and innovative ideas. Organized in cooperation with TravelDaily, the sessions facilitated the exchange regarding cutting-edge trends and practices. Participants commended the dynamic content and engaging discussions on topics encompassing China Outbound Travel, MICE, Business Travel, Travel Technology, and new this year, China Inbound Travel, solidifying its position as China’s premier industry think tank. Those who missed sessions can review content online via the ITB China Platform, which will be published shortly.

Other networking events such as the fifth edition of the ITB China Cruise Night with Group, Lunch & Link with PROMPERU, the After-Show Sundowner with TUI BLUE Hotels & Resorts, and the “Meet the Media” networking event provided valuable opportunities for attendees to connect and collaborate in the future.

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George, in his capacity as an intern, diligently oversees the flow of news, assists in the publication of content, and delves into the strategies of social media distribution. He is currently pursuing his studies in Business Administration at the Athens University of Economics and Business.