Trevor tells us about his recent trip to China
Normally my business trips to China take a leisurely connection between Hong Kong International Airport to Shenzhen China, a 45 minute taxi link form the airport through 2 border posts and a drop off at my hotel in the Louho business district. Shenzhen is where we manufacture our souvenir audio players.
This time however I joined a Tourism Ireland networking event In 2 cities Guangzhou and Shanghai – thus my title China at 308km per hour – the speed of the fast rail network. The Cork-Dublin train just won’t be the same again.
Shenzhen to Guangzhou – a city of 9m million is just an hour away by this link while Guangzhou to Shanghai was 6 hours – just less than 1500km in 6 hours. That is approximately the equivalent of travelling by train form Cork-Belfast, back again to Cork and back to Belfast! It was a great way to experience modern China – new train stations with 24 or 32 tracks – busy trains – efficient and on time.
Networking with 25 Chinese Tour operators in 4 hours was interesting. It was very well organised with 10 minutes per meeting. What made it different was having a translator with you, but after one or two meetings we were working away at both understanding both the Outbound Chinese Tour market and where we might be in a position to create opportunity. Some salient facts – 2014 114 million, yes million tourists, growing at 14% annually – over 4 million coming to Europe annually – purpose of travel 77% leisure. We were joined on the networking event by Niall Gibbons CEO T.I. it was certainly an eye opener.
Shanghai a city of 24 million people takes your breath away down on the famous ‘Bund’ where you see modern Shanghai at night. Surprisingly cosmopolitan – by that I mean cosmopolitan Chinese – and different to Shenzhen and Guangzhou which are more provincial. The district I stayed in was very open, Xintiandi and I stayed in the Shanghai Xintiandi Langham Hotel one of the best I have ever been in. In fact the restaurant area locally in this business district has everything but Chinese! Spanish, German, Italian, French, European Bistro – all full of young local people – I actually struggled to find a local restaurant.
So a venture out of my regular spot Shenzhen – an experience and well worth it – now where do you think In Hand Guides might be looking to next for a growing market!!!!!