Regardless of their experience in the China market, travel professionals who attended NTA’s China Market Forum gained new and useful information. The forum, a series of seminars that explored the challenges and opportunities within the growing Chinese market, was held in San Diego during Contact, the association’s annual education and networking event for tour operators.
Katrina White, travel trade manager for Visit Rhode Island, attended two of the sessions in hopes of learning more about a market her organization hasn’t fully explored. “The seminars were packed with information to help us get started,” White said. “In fact, I have asked Haybina Hao at NTA to present the seminars to my hotels, attractions and regional tourism offices on the travel habits of the Chinese inbound market and their expectations so we can develop product accordingly.”
Leaders of the sessions included Yaping Xue, director of the China National Tourism Office; Isabel Hill, deputy director for policy and planning with the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, and NTA members experienced in the China market.
One member with significant experience attended the forum as a participant. “The China Forum was very informative and beneficial,” said Phil Otterson, president of Abercrombie & Kent. “My company is deeply involved in the Chinese inbound-to-the-U.S.A. market, and NTA’s cutting-edge knowledge and expertise about this market is one of the reasons we have just become the association’s newest tour operator member.”
During the first five months of 2012, Chinese visitation to the United States increased 43 percent over 2011, a year when Chinese arrivals rose 36 percent over the previous year and topped 1 million for the first time, according to the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.