Alina Xiang, president and CEO of East West Marketing, a well-known tourism marketing company with central offices in China, India and the USA, posted a brief commentary of what one might expect from next month’s once-every-five-years Congress of China’s Communist Party will let us know if tourism—both domestic and international—a will be a priority. INBOUND joined the post by adding some of its own observations and history.)
—If it seems that nothing is happening with the Chinese inbound travel market of late, you’re partly right. That’s because everyone interested in the market has been waiting for the announcement of the dates full Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, which takes place every five years, to be set. That took place last week.
—Along with the dates of the Congress China’s presidential election was announced and set for this October 16-22, 2022. With election dates now public, the Chinese travel and tourism industry is eagerly awaiting the start of a new term and hoping for big changes regarding China’s outbound tourism policies.
—Why is China’s presidential election significant to the global tourism industry? The past two predecessors of Xi Jinping, president of the People’s Republic of China, both served two five-year terms. However, in 2018, while Xi was in his second term, he amended the party constitution to remove all term limits giving him the opportunity for a third-term.
—The Xinhua News Agency, or New China News Agency—the official state news agency of the People’s Republic of China—has reported that, “the Congress will thoroughly review the international and domestic situations, comprehensively grasp the new requirements for the development of the cause of the Party and the country on the new journey in the new era, as well as the new expectations of the people.”
—Diplomatic relations are more important than ever given President Xi’s commitment to Covid-zero and the country’s significant control on inbound and outbound travel. For instance, Israel’s Tourism Minister recently shared Israel’s goal of 10 million Chinese tourists annually by 2030, calling Chinese tourists an “economic anchor for the state.” Re-establishing direct flights is the only way to meet such ambitious tourism goals and diplomatic relations will play a critical role in such cooperation. Israel and China publicly announced they are working on reinstating flights by the end of the year.
—While Independent Chinese travelers tend to be less politically sensitive and are more concerned about safety, it’s imperative for destinations and travel brands to be mindful of the current political climate and to keep long-term goals in mind. Having a direct line of communication to Chinese trade partners and consumers on social is essential. Do not let diplomatic tensions dictate your brand story.
—Elsewhere, the signals have been sent that, at long last, it is time for a recovery of the Chinese travel market, following a really rough period of activity during the first part of the year. Now, the domestic tourism industry has begun to improve its station, and it seems as if the Chinese government is making it easier should, and when, outbound international travel from the country resumes at pre-pandemic levels.
—We all should watch to see what kind of near-term future Chinese government has in mind for tourism. It was two Congresses ago (2012), the government announced an aggressive program of incentives aimed at making the industry an instrument of economic development. Will we find out if the government has any major plans for tourism infrastructure improvements (especially with regard to airports) and promotion to continue improvement of China’s tourism product.