BERLIN 12 March 2018: Led by China, travellers from Asia are likely to dominate travel arrivals to Europe as early as 2020.
China is the main driver having overtaken South Korea, Japan and Taiwan as the top Asian supplier for European destinations.
But until recently no one would have thought that China’s outbound travel boom would surpass the annual exodus of North Americans heading for summer holidays in Europe.
“China sees Europe as a (single) destination,” said European Travel Commission executive director, Eduardo Santander during ITB Berlin. “That makes it all the more important for European tourism experts to network better.”
“It’s not the US or Australia that is the biggest competitor to the EU, it’s us,” said Santander. “Europe needs to learn to understand itself as a shared travel destination.”
However, the sharing has knotty issues to overcome as Britain prepares to leave the EU by 2020. Ultimately, ‘Brexit’ will have an impact on how travel works across Europe and Chinese travellers will ultimately view the UK as a destination outside of Europe.
The emergence of a booming outbound travel market that generates 130 million overseas trips annually adds considerable significance to ITB China that will take place from 16 to 18 May in Shanghai.
Now in its second year, it is a partner of the “EU China Tourism Year”, which the Chinese government has proclaimed together with the EU Commission.
ITB China is a pure B2B event and will welcome more than 700 exhibitors from over 70 countries. Around 2,700 participants will attend the trade fare’s exhibition and conferences.
More than a third of exhibitors come from Europe, another third from Asia.
This year’s partner destination is Finland.