To meet MasterClass which is scheduled for 13.03. at the Forum Congress Center in Zagreb, these days we are in intensive communication with our Chinese colleagues, Joanne Chan i William Chia who will visit us soon and be keynote speakers.
In the foreground is the preparation of the content and the way of presentation, but of course we also touched on the corona virus.
Their views and the facts they present encourage deeper thinking about the current situation…. is it a media-inflated bubble in favor of Western and American politics and capital?
When I first visited Asia, it was 2003 in the era of SARS that hit China and Asia very hard in 2002-2003. Tourism literally stopped in that period, but later recovered and very quickly achieved huge growth.
When I told my house that I was going to China, specifically to Shenzhen and Guangzhou, there was a general panic. "Well, there's an epidemic, people are dying,… don't go!" I went, took protective masks, piles of medicine, cracked immunity. but nothing. Okay, I thought it would definitely be different when I move to China. I arrived in Shenzhen in the early evening, the city was full of people, they were coming home after work, everything seemed completely normal…
SARS was a big problem at the time, in Asia it infected a large number of people with a large number of deaths. The epidemic started in Guangzhou and spread to Asia. Despite the panic created, the total number of infected and the number of deaths can be compared with the classic flu and our domestic statistics… it was much more harmless than the flu we are "used to".
William Chia lives in Shanghai and points out that he has never seen or heard any of the residents eat any strange things, such as bats and the like. As an intellectual and cosmopolitan who has lived for years outside China, following foreign media, his conclusion is that the media spread unnecessary fear and panic. Given the total Chinese population, even the darkest predictions related to the corona virus are still at the level of the common flu.
The tourist picture of the world has changed significantly, today it is much different than just a month ago.
"All tours from China have been canceled, I lost 15 groups for FebruarySays the leader of Koala Blue Tours from Queensland, Australia. “The Chinese make up 10 to 20% of our total turnover… I think the federal government still doesn’t understand how much this situation will have a big impact on the overall economy. Theme parks, hotels, attractions,… will all suffer tremendous damage. China is our largest foreign market."
The Corona Wuhan virus has infected at least 13.000 people to date, and more than 300 have died from the infection since it was first identified in central China in December 2019. From reports that arrive regularly, it is clear that on average the elderly have died the most (60 and several years) with pre-established health problems, i.e. weakened immunity. Also, most infected people recover well. All this points to the fact that a healthy population with a strong immune system, with good personal hygiene, will be able to cope with a possible infection and recover from it.
Nevertheless, this epidemic will have a dramatic effect on thousands of tourist destinations around the world.
China is the world’s largest tourism market, growing sharply from 2018 to 4,5 million tourists from the beginning of the millennium to 150. That number is expected to nearly double in 2020 as the number of Chinese with passports increases from the current 10% to the expected 20% of the population.
China is also the world's largest tourism consumer with a total of $ 277 billion, or 16% of the world's total tourism spending, according to the UNWTO.
It's Thursday World Health Organization declared the corona virus a global health threat. The U.S. State Department is advising its citizens not to travel to China, and the UK and Canada have done the same. United, American, Delta, British Airways, KLM, Air Canada and Lufthansa have suspended flights to many Chinese cities, while others, such as Cathay Pacific, have reduced the number of flights.
On Friday, the United States announced that it was temporarily banning the entry of foreign nationals who had visited China in the last 14 days. The Singapore Ministry of Health has also announced to all new visitors traveling to mainland China in the last 14 days that they will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore.
Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia, North Korea, and Russia have partially or completely closed their borders with China to prevent the spread of the disease.
Although it is still too early to see the economic damage, the global impact on the tourism industry will largely depend on how long it takes to curb the virus.
By comparison, the SARS epidemic cost the global economy between $ 30 billion and $ 50 billion. It took China 16 months to return to pre-crisis levels. However, this time the Chinese government was better prepared, not only responding more quickly to the crisis, but also being extremely transparent in providing information to the international community.
"It is too early to say how long the crisis will last, but if the corona is similar to SARS, then things could return to normal in early or mid-April. If we look at what happened in 2003, during SARS, after the crisis ended, tourism indicators jumped sharply. Of course, in those few months it was extremely difficult for small companies, but, in the long run, globally everything returned to normal very quickly.”Said Wolfgang Georg Arlt, director and founder of the institute, on the COTRI portal on Friday.
"Another thing to consider", Says Arlt,"is that Chinese tourists are actually the most advanced part of Chinese society for whom travel is an important status symbol. Travel is closely linked to social status in China. If your friends are talking about New York, Sydney or Munich and you also have to say that you have been there, thus gaining a reputation in society. The desire and need to travel will not stop. "
Trip.com Group - China's largest online travel agency, formerly known as Ctrip - also shared an optimistic forecast for a speedy recovery: "During the SARS quarter, demand fell, but after the situation normalized, we witnessed double and triple demandSaid Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com Group, to CNN Travel.
In such situations, it is necessary to think calmly and rationally.
While it is almost certain that the tourism industry will fare badly in the coming months, not only as far as Chinese tourists are concerned, but tourism in general, this is the right time to ORGANIZE, PLAN, STRATEGY, PREPARE and INVEST in the Chinese tourism market.
The moment the world recovers you be ready for a big step towards the largest tourist market in the world.
During these few weeks of the epidemic, we have noticed new phenomena on Chinese social networks, and a change in the behavior of Chinese tourists and clients is visible. We will add this newspaper to our lecture and also share with you certain strategies and techniques of public relations management, and how to deal with this type of crisis in China.
Come on MasterClass on the Chinese tourism market - How to reach millions of Chinese tourists?
13.3.2020/XNUMX/XNUMX Congress Center Forum - Zagreb
More information and registration at www.marketingtochinatourists.com
Author: Andreja Gazdek, ProConcept doo