The Network for the European Private Sector in Tourism, which gathers the main travel and tourism trade associations in Europe, sees the designation of 2018 as EU-China Tourism Year as a unique opportunity to increase mutual travel trade between the two regions and stresses the need for a holistic approach.
The EU-China 2018 Year of Tourism was signed by Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission and Mr Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, at the opening of the EU-China summit on 12 July 2016.
NET believes this is an opportunity for both China and Europe to boost tourism flows in both ways. Therefore, tourism promotion alone is not sufficient to make this a success. A holistic approach is needed; looking at facilitating travel, improving connectivity, addressing the specific needs of group tourism, fostering cultural understanding though training and tutorials, help building partnerships between European and Chinese tourism enterprises, overcoming language barriers, etc.
“For the cruise industry this initiative is a major step forward and will allow tourists from both regions to benefit. It will encourage more Chinese people to explore Europe on a cruise and help our cruise lines develop tourism and cruise opportunities in China,’ said Marco Digioia, Director Government Affairs at CLIA Europe.
With a little more than one year to go, NET stresses again the importance of travel facilitation and is urging Member States to adopt the review of the EU visa code, making the visa process more efficient and consumer friendly. An EU-China visa facilitation with Multiple-Entry Visas would also go long ways to easing travel to Europe.
China is the world’s largest travel market in terms of both outbound travel and expenditure. According to ETC, European destinations have welcomed 10,1 million Chinese visitors in 2015, accounting for a share of 13% of all outbound travel from China. At the same time, Europe has sent 4.9 million visitors China, accounting for 19% of the total foreign visitors.