CITM 2008: Marketing Travel In Shanghai

China International Travel Mart 2008 will be held in Shanghai, from November 20 to November 23. With its nine-year history, what kind of help will CITM bring to Chinese tourism enterprises in this coming economic downturn? China's leading travel professionals give us their views.

With increasing categories and numbers of exhibitors year-on-year, CITM has new features every year. At the very beginning, the number of travel agencies operating outbound tour business was relatively higher than other organizations, while currently more and more overseas attractions and travel service companies for inbound tourists sent delegations to participate in CITM – the scale of fair is bigger in Shanghai than in Kunming.

Lin Kang, vice general manager of the outbound tour department of China International Travel Service Limited, Head Office
"CITM provides a platform for tourism enterprises to communicate with new and old friends. Many news conferences held during CITM brought us the latest news in a timely way. Every year for the fair, we prepared in three areas: to launch new product brochures for promotion; to learn about the new happenings and the operational models of new products from the other travel agencies; and to complete the information gathering for a supplement to the original database, especially various information on unfamiliar markets."

Ma Guohua, president of HNA Tourism Group
"Last year, HNA Tourism Group participated in the fair for the first time and gained a lot. We hope to showcase all of our companies, especially HNA hotels and air companies at a brand new booth this time, and we will hold a product launch to promote our new products and services. Through the CITM 2008, we expect to meet more friends old and new, and get to know more about development trends for both domestic and overseas tourism sectors.

"Compared to the international fairs, CITM needs to enhance its ability to provide a seamless organization and make more convenient arrangements for buyers' and sellers' business talks. In general, the current arrangements are casual and without a strict time limit. CITM may use for reference the way that the international exhibitions arrange 15 minute meetings in advance for buyers and sellers. Although the time is a bit rushed, the participants can quickly grasp the essential information.

"As a large travel fair in China, CITM provides a good platform for participants from the tourism industry to communicate with each other, and have a better understanding about each other, and it builds an excellent bridge and channel to meet new friends and expand business."

Beijing East Century International Travel
"BECIT is sending a team of about 30 persons to participate in CITM 2008. And the company has carefully made appointments to negotiate with different clients at the fair, of these, the discussion time with domestic tourism bureaus accounts for 40%, the overseas tourism bureaus take 20%, 15% of the time is with the airlines, and 15% for the hotels. The media occupy 10% of our discussion time.

"The company as a tourism enterprise not only hopes to communicate and interact with its partners in the travel industry at CITM, but also expects the fair to enhance the effectiveness of its publicity to the public to let consumers know what a good information channel it is, so that CITM will become a fair like the automobile exhibitions and encourage ordinary people to take an interest in, and look forward to, this great event every year."

Chen Xiaobing, general manager of Beijing CAISSA International Travel Service
"Since CITM opened, CAISSA has been an exhibitor for ten consecutive years, and established a good communication and connection with participants in the travel industry from many countries and areas around the world. For CAISSA, CITM not only provides an opportunity for us to showcase the company's image and product brands, but also acts as a platform for us to meet with excellent providers and partners. As the largest travel wholesaler operating outbound tours in China at present, CAISSA places much importance on CITM's strength and coherence in the travel industry. In the past, CAISSA has obtained many awards including the best booth design at CITM; and has absorbed lots of information on the travel industry, and got to know major partners to set up an important foundation for the company's future development."

Zhang Lingjie, vice general manager of the Domestic Department of China International Travel Service Limited, Head Office.
"I hope CITM will offer more to attract buyers, and arrange more reception events, encouraging more buyers come over for business talks."

Guo Guang, vacation department director,
"Ctrip is sending a delegation of about 30 persons to participate in the CITM 2008. CITM provides a good opportunity for tourism enterprises to meet and have a face-to-face contact with suppliers and exhibitors from the travel industry so that they can get the latest information and documents about the attractions from the tourism bureaus of every destination. This is helpful for our business development.

"For CITM 2008, Ctrip hopes to have sufficient communication with the travel providers to maintain a good cooperative relationship with them; and to get the latest information; as well as showcasing the company's image as a professional travel services provider."

Guo Yu, assistant general manager, Beijing Mytour International Travel Service
"CITM is one of the most important annual events for the Chinese travel industry and offers a good opportunity to enhance communication with old friends, and to meet new clients, and it also provides a platform to get to know about the development trends of domestic and global tourism industries. The fair is also valuable for tourism related industries information gathering, enterprise development, as well as product research, development and innovation.

"The international fairs emphasize the function of communication and interaction, while domestic fairs focus on the exhibition so that the exhibitors are concerned about how to find new clients. I hope domestic fairs can allocate the business discussion time in a more detailed way. For example, it can open up separate professional discussion areas, for hotels, airlines and destinations, which would be convenient for the participants' negotiations, not just the exchange the name cards or documents. It will save the participants' time in sorting documents after the fair and so improve the efficiency of the process."

Feng Bin, general manager of Beijing UTS International Travel Service Company
"CITM offers us a good opportunity to display our company's image and strength, and it acts as a platform to communicate with the other participants of the tourism industry. From this, we can learn about the latest news, professional information, and development trends in the travel industry. Undoubtedly, this will provide an effective reference for us to assess our development orientation and focus in the market. And we hope there will be more professional seminars and forums in the travel industry during the period of CITM.

"UTS looks forward to communicating with new and old partners, and arranging the business discussion time with overseas tourism bureaus, airlines, domestic travel agencies, international travel service companies for inbound tourists, domestic attractions, hotels, media, and domestic tourism bureaus for new business opportunities."

Guo Hongbin, general manager of China Bamboo Garden International Travel
"CITM also offers a platform for travel agencies to develop new clients and consolidate old customer relationships, and provides opportunities for mutual learning to strengthen the connection and communications between them and the tourism related industries.

"We hope that in the future CITM can further assist the exhibitors in advertising and promoting on the media around the country before and after the fair."

CITM offers an opportunity for companies to showcase their layouts and improve their brand image.

Chen Xu, vice general manager of BTG Outbound Tours
"At CITM 2008, BTG will focus on negotiation with overseas tourism bureaus, cruises, drawback, tax free companies, independent resorts, charter flight companies, and the media; as well as the tourism related organs to build up cooperation relationships with them. I hope the fair will add some discussion and communication opportunities on how to set up the enterprise structure, outlet renovation, and industry upgrading, making it more than just a venue for simple information communication."

Billy Shen, COO of & Hua Yuan International Travel
" and Hua Yuan International Travel Company will not set up booth at the CITM 2008, and the company hopes to devote much more time in the channel communication and classified purchasing. This time, as a buyer, the company's negotiation targets will include more new countries that are opening up to tourism.

"CITM can learn from the experiences of international fairs by setting higher standards for exhibitors qualification to further stimulate both buyers and sellers. Meanwhile, the fair can take advantage of the time when it is open to the public by holding some promotion activities of discounted tour products to encourage the tourist consumption and loyalty tourism. This will help the fair to reach a higher level compared to other similar fairs."

Zhou Yingfeng, general manager of outbound tours, Shanghai CYTS Tours Corporation
"Shanghai CYTS participates in CITM every year, and it can not only display its advantages, but can also invite the clients to come over its booth for business talks. This time, the company hopes to have in-depth discussions and negotiations with airlines, overseas tourism bureaus, hotels, travel agencies for receiving the tourists, and attractions. For example, we can discuss about issues such as visas with some of the high-level officials from overseas tourism bureaux.

"In general, we have not seen too many changes in CITM year-on-year. I hope the organizing committee to adopt some new methods of display to cater for the current market; and to arrange the meetings in advance to improve the quality of business talk."

Yu Weihua, general manager of outbound tour, Shanghai China Travel International
"CITM attracts lots of international and domestic buyers and sellers every year, providing a major communication platform for the tourism enterprises. In scale, CITM is absolutely as good as any of the overseas travel fairs, but it has its weak points. CITM has embodied the characteristics of the Chinese tourism market, pulling together domestic and overseas; and outbound and inbound exhibitors, each of which has their own characteristics. Due to the fair focusing more on display functions than negotiations, most of the participants still need to have further one on one negotiations after the fair."

Zhong Hui, general manager of China Environment International Travel Service
"Firstly, CEITS hopes to showcase its image through the fair. Secondly, both new and old participants have the opportunity to contact with the suppliers for mutual cooperation. Various meetings held during the period of the fair can provide the latest news and development trends for tourism enterprises. Through participating in the activities of overseas tourism bureaus and travel agencies for receiving the tourists, we can learn about the latest news of market and enhance our relationship.

"I suggest that CITM can set up a theme according to each year's characteristics, allowing tourism enterprises to showcase themselves and to communicate with each other. In addition, I hope that the fair can be more open, attracting domestic and overseas middle- and small-scale enterprises to participate in so as to enlarge the business opportunities."