Kuoni grows in China

Kuoni grows in China

Kuoni Group Travel Experts, the world’s leading group travel provider, today opens a new marketing office in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province and a major business and cultural centre in Western China. The office will help the company market accommodation and experiences in the world’s destinations to the fourth most populous city in mainland China.

Five marketing personnel are based in the new Chengdu office, led by Joanna Ma who reports to Tom Shi, Kuoni Group Travel Experts’ Area General Manager for North China, who is based in Beijing. The team will be responsible for building close relationships with travel wholesalers and retailers in China’s mid-west and connecting them with Kuoni Group Travel Experts’ sales office in Hong Kong.

Opening the new office, chief executive of Kuoni Group Travel Experts, David Painter says: “Although many travellers come from the ‘super cities’ of Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou, ‘second tier’ cities are increasingly the focus for international investment. Chengdu has received more international investment than Beijing, Guangzhou or Shenzhen in recent years, helping to increase disposable income and drive the growth of a wealthier middle class.”

The largest foreign-travel-services company in China, Kuoni Group Travel Experts’ network in mainland China and its special administrative regions is centred in Hong Kong. However, given the size and global importance of the country, local marketing offices have been established in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and now Chengdu.

Chengdu is home to some 14 million people and to the production facilities and offices of a wide range of Chinese and multinational corporations. With flights to more than 20 international destinations, passenger traffic through Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport exceeded 31.6 million in 2012 with plans in place to increase that number to 40 million by 2015.

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China’s economic fortunes and travel industry continues to grow at a healthy rate. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Chinese travellers spent US$129 billion on international tourism in 2013, up +26% on 2012 and making them the world’s biggest spenders. Travellers from China will account for 40% of Asian international travellers by 2030, growing at a compound annual rate of about 11%.1 For Kuoni Group Travel Experts, outbound group travel from the country increased by 14% in 2013, following steady rises since entering the market in 2006.

Continues David Painter: “Employing local people throughout mainland China helps us forge important relationships and serve our customers better. Our consultants work with the local travel trade to identify opportunities to boost success. They share market knowledge and insights gathered from Kuoni Group Travel Experts around the world, so we can help businesses take advantage of Chinese citizens’ growing demand for international destinations.”

Thanks to progressive Government policies, the increasing affordability of travel, the accessibility of international destinations from many parts of China and the growing influence of ‘Tier 2’ cities, Chinese travellers are now more used to travelling abroad. While their first trips gave them a flavor of the destination, they are now returning to get a deeper experience. This may mean spending more time in one location, seeing attractions they didn’t have time for before or learning more about the local culture and way of life.

Tom Shi, Kuoni Group Travel Experts’ Area General Manager for North China, concludes: “Kuoni Group Travel Experts offers a wide range of travel options, local marketing advice and services, competitive credit terms, and a website and distribution solution that connects seamlessly to group travel agencies. Our locally employed personnel understand travel agents’ businesses, the expectations of their clients and the unique legislative, economic, social and technological environment in which they operate.

“That expertise and our global destination knowledge, coupled with our financial stability and long-standing reputation, gives us a competitive edge when sourcing and contracting hotels, services and experiences at the best price possible and in the destinations they most want to visit. Our global reputation also means we can use our influence to recommend ways that destinations can better serve Chinese travellers; by simplifying visa processes for instance.”

Businesses in Chengdu and the mid-West of China interested in group travel with Kuoni Group Travel Experts can contact Joanna Ma and the Chengdu team: