3 years ago

ITB China News 2018 - Day 1 Edition

  • Text
  • Tourism
  • Finland
  • Travellers
  • Heritage
  • Shanghai
  • Customised
  • Outbound
  • Destination
  • Airlines
  • Countries


8 TRADE TALK WE PROVIDE MERCHANTS WITH CONSULTING, MARKETING AND IT SYSTEM SUPPORT IN ORDER TO PROPERLY PREPARE THEM FOR CHINESE CUSTOMERS Sandra Servos Operating Director, Travel Easy Helping Chinese Tourists to “Travel Easy” German-based company develops east-west synergy and facilitates business Travel Easy is one of the most innovative partners one can find for travel services connecting Europe to China. The company is building a network that adds value and potential for all members, enabling travel agencies, shops and tourists to benefit from a clear win-win synergy. We asked Sandra Servos, Operating Director, Travel Easy, to tell us more about she is working in the Chinese market. Travel Easy aims at strengthening Europe as an attractive shopping destination against international competition. To be more specific, Travel Easy strives to improve the shopping experience for Chinese tourists in Europe. In order to achieve that, we offer our 100% tax refund service TAX FREE EASY to Chinese tourists. It is a non-cash refund meaning there in no need to queue for cash in the airport. It is convenient, fast and without hassle. An autofill-function when filling-in the information in the tax refund form makes life easier for both the merchants and the tourists. Push messages keep the tourists up-to-date on the status of their tax refund form. We promote and install Alipay as a payment method at our connected merchants to ease the payment process for Chinese tourists. Apart from that we also assist European retailers in achieving GDPR conformity and increasing their visibility within Chinese tourists. The secure handling of personal data is also relevant for tour operators and tour guides and we hope to be of help for both parties. Furthermore, we aim at increasing the profits for tour operators and at helping tour guides to manage groups more efficiently. What are the key difficulties people in Europe run into when working with Chinese travellers, and how do you assist in this respect? Key difficulties arise from differences in language, culture, law and regulations. The result is a shopping experience that could be improved. We assist Chinese travellers in offering a Chinese speaking support service as well as products and services that ease the payment and tax refund process and thereby improve the shopping experience. Besides this, we provide merchants with consulting, marketing and IT system support in order to properly prepare them for Chinese customers. How important is it to be based in the heart of Europe’s financial centre and why? For a FinTech company like us it is good to be located in the financial centre of Europe. Through this location we receive first-hand information on news in the FinTech industry and can respond to changes immediately. Apart from that Frankfurt is a very liveable city and attractive to welleducated young professionals who might be our potential colleagues. What kind of customers do you work with already and with whom are you looking to develop business? We have local business resources in Europe and work together with more than 200 merchants in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Denmark and Hungary etc. Our innovative products and convenient services will expand quickly to more European countries, for example UK in July and Spain in September. We are looking to develop and intensify cooperation with all participants in the market, in order to mutually benefit from our services and products. Above all we hope to find cooperation partners with whom we can jointly improve the shopping experience for Chinese travellers in Europe and enhance the travel retail business in Europe in general. What are the key aims of your presence at ITB China and what are your thoughts about this show? It is the first time for us to exhibit at ITB China. We are looking forward to exchange ideas and information with industry experts and to develop new business relationships. We will participate in the key note speeches on the first day at quarter past three talking about the latest changes in the travel retail industry in more depth and the most recent trends. We have participated in this show because we understand that it is one of the most important exhibitions within the travel industry facilitating the exchange of knowledge between a great number of experts ITB CHINA NEWS • Wednesday 16 th May 2018

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW 9 FINLAND IS A SAFE & STABLE COUNTRY AND HAS THE WORLD’S CLEANEST AIR Paavo Virkkunen Executive Director, Business Finland Oy & Head of Visit Finland Welcome to the Happiest Country in the World Paavo Virkkunen, Executive Director, Business Finland Oy & Head of Visit Finland numbers the key assets of this extraordinary destination In 2017, international travel to Finland hit a new record with overnight stays of foreign visitors as high as 6.7 million, and the number of foreign overnights increased by 972,000, achieving 17% growth compared to the previous year. We asked Paavo Virkkunen, Executive Director, Business Finland Oy & Head of Visit Finland to tell us how Chinese travellers fit into the picture. China ranked No.5 among source markets after Russia, Germany, Sweden, & UK and has become the biggest long-haul source market for Finland. China is indeed one of Visit Finland’s primary markets. Nights spent by Chinese tourists reached 362,138 in 2017, +33.4% compared to 2016. Chinese Travel Income reached around €330m in 2017 and Chinese expenditure per trip was €1,200, the highest among all nationalities. To sum up, China is very important market for Visit Finland and that’s also one of the reasons for us to join ITB China for the second time. What prompted you to partner with ITB China? ITB is a leading trade fair in the world. That why we joined ITB in Germany, Singapore and also last year in Shanghai. With ITB China, our Finnish partners have the opportunity to meet important buyers from the Chinese travel trade, which will bring more business opportunities to the Finnish travel trade. Meanwhile, China has become more and more important and the fastest growing market for Finland. To become partner destination of ITB China, we strongly believe that it will bring us extra exposure and benefits during the fair among the travel trade, and also illustrates the importance of the Chinese market for Visit Finland. What are the “key assets” of Finland as a destination - especially for Chinese travellers? Finland has variety of offerings for Chinese travellers. In 2018, Finland is the Happiest Country in the world according to the UN’s ranking. Finland is a safe & stable country and has the world’s cleanest air. 70% of the lands are covered by forest and trees. Midnight sun in the summer and Aurora in the winter offers exotic experiences for travellers. Moreover, unique accommodation (cottages, glass igloo hotels, etc.) and lots of activities create a oncein-a-lifetime and unforgettable experience. What extra moves are being made to prepare local receptive companies and hotel operators for Chinese visitors? We started the cooperation with Alipay in 2016. Alipay has been implemented to many shops, hotels, taxi or other merchandises. Chinese people could use the familiar payment tool to pay bills and go shopping. Helsinki and Tencent launched the Helsinki Mini Program in WeChat during Chinese New Year of 2018. With the trendy Mini Program, travellers could find all the practical information about the city including attractions, transportation, and so on. Many destinations and hotel chains also have China-ready projects in order to meet the demands and habits of Chinese people. What are your key goals at ITB China? Winter season in Finland is very popular among Chinese tourists now. Through the efforts of our partners, we would like to maintain our good image and develop new products for Chinese travellers. However, our summer is also beautiful, with thousands of lakes and the midnight sun. We would like to promote Finnish Lakeland to Chinese people to give them a reason to stay longer in Finland in the summer season. Winter Sports are a hot topic now in China. Finland has a good infrastructure for winter sports activities and winter sports is in the Finns’ blood. We hope that through our further promotions, we will be able to attract more Chinese winter sports lovers to visit Finnish ski resorts or join other winter sports in Finland. Finnish Education also has its reputation around the world. Visit Finland has also been actively encouraging our Finnish partners to produce new educational travel products for the China market, such as student camps, real classroom experiences, and so on ITB CHINA NEWS • Wednesday 16 th May 2018