The director of the Catalan Tourism Agency (ACT), Xavier Espasa, has today begun a four-day promotional mission to China where he will finalize the action plan for promotion in this market and will hold high level meetings with several tourist agents.

“The aim of this trip – explains Xavier Espasa – is to address crucial aspects to consolidate the growth of Catalonia in this emerging source: to begin with, designing and planning priority promotional action to enhance the demand; training of travel agents to make this demand available in the sales channels; and, finally, promoting the tools without which the optimum development of this market is not possible, such as direct flights and streamlined handling of tourist visas”.


Coordination with the Barcelona Air Route Development Committee

In the scheduled programme of meetings and interviews, it is worth noting the meeting of the director of the ACT with the directors of the Chinese airlines China Eastern and China Southern. The aim is to continue the conversations initiated by the Barcelona Air Route Development Committee (BARDC), with whom the ACT works in a coordinated way, to attract direct flights to Barcelona. “The direct connection Catalonia-China is key to the development of Chinese tourism in our destination”, says Xavier Espasa. Asian companies precisely the ones to be able play an important role in the evolution of the El Prat Airport as an international hub.

Another of the important appointments is the meeting Xavier Espasa is to hold with the Consulate General of Spain in Canton to assess the workings of tourist visa issuing and to confirm their streamlined processing.

The director of the ACT and the director of the Tourist Promotion Centre in China, Antonio Li, have just designed the promotional action plan the Catalan Tourism Agency will carry out to make the Catalan destination and its tourist attractions known to the Chinese public. The high points are attendance to different fairs and organization of familiarization trips and marketing conferences, where the offer of luxury business and enogastronomy play an important role.

This trip is part of the Catalonia tourist promotion strategy set by the Department of Business and Occupation, where the internationalization and diversification of markets is a key point. In this sense, there is a commitment to emerging sources with a great potential as is the case of China.


First travel agents “specialized” in Catalonia

As announced by the Minister for Business and Occupation, F. Xavier Mena, in the Parliament of Catalonia, the Catalan Tourism Agency (ACT) has developed an online training course on tourism in Catalonia aimed at a potential target of 6,000 professionals in the Chinese tourist industry. The director of the ACT explains that “the aim is for Chinese travel agents to acquire specific knowledge on the Catalan tourist offer and to become specialists in and promoters of Catalonia”.

This first edition has attracted hundreds of travel agents, ninety of whom will now receive the accrediting diploma from the director of the Catalan Tourism Agency, Xavier Espasa, and from the director of Tourism in Guangdong, Yang Rongsen.

The initiative, designed to train tour operators and travel agents from Guangdong, is part of a joint promotional plan the outcome of the collaboration agreement between Catalonia and the province of Guangdong, twinned since 2003. The persons in charge of Catalan tourism expect to repeat this course in other provinces in China and in other Asian countries.



Some details regarding the Chinese market

The Catalan Tourism Agency has a Centre for Tourist Promotion in Beijing which, since it was launched in 2005, has worked towards making Catalonia known in and strengthening ties with the Chinese market. Among the actions carried out to attract Chinese tourism, it is worth highlighting the organization of workshops, press and familiarization trips, the edition in Chinese of a tourist publication and the creation of a web with information on Catalonia specifically aimed at the Chinese market.

The over 1,300 million inhabitants in China are a very attractive market, especially in tourism, as it may become one of the most important tourist sources in the world. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) expects China to be the main tourist source market by 2020 and calculates that in ten years’ time around 100 million Chinese will travel outside their country. Culture, luxury, shopping and incentive trips are some of the most popular products among Chinese tourists.

For Spain, “Catalonia is a very attractive destination for China. In recent years, Chinese tourism has risen 40%, and in 2011 we calculate over 70,000 Chinese arrived. Barcelona is the top destination and we would like to take advantage of the momentum of the city to extend this to the rest of the Catalan territory. Our cultural, shopping and business offer is very attractive to the Chinese market”.  



Source: Agència Catalana de Turisme / Catalan Tourism Agency


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