The second annual China Travel Retail event is taking place at the Hilton Sanya Resort and Spa in Hainan Province.

A powerful and uplifting presentation from China Tourism Academy president professor Dai Bin was the main highlight on day one of the second China Travel Retail event at the Hilton Sanya Resort and Spa in Hainan Province, China. The event attracted 125 delegates and began with a cocktail on the beach the previous night sponsored by Louis Royer Cognac.
The event was moderated for the second time by Moodie Report founder and chairman Martin Moodie who outlined the importance of the Chinese travelling consumer with reference to several key international airports, including London Heathrow, where Chinese travellers represent 0.7% of total passengers and account for 25%-50% of retail sales. Quoting a 50% split between aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues at airports worldwide, Moodie warned Chinese airport representatives in attendance they have some "serious catching up to do."
Referring to last year's relaxation of duty-free limits in Hainan from Rmb5,000($800) to Rmb8000($1,282), Moodie praised the high-profile government support of the duty-free industry.
The opening keynote address delivered by Bin called for Chinese airports to promote a sense of heritage through their products and strategies. He also said inbound tourists should be able to buy products with local or regional characteristics when leaving the country and become ambassadors for Chinese retail.
Bin outlined the official view in China on the importance of the tourism industry and spoke about government plans to improve tourism behaviour by encouraging Chinese citizens, for example, to take their holiday entitlement.
An information campaign could be implemented to help Chinese travellers understand foreign cultures and become better ambassasorts for China when travelling according to Bin.
Information relating to discussions with central government and operators such as China Duty Free Group to enhance inbound and outbound tourism was also shared and Dai suggested the "sophisticated Chinese international shopper was not looking for luxury, but for quality well-made items regardless of price."
They keynote presentation followed a welcome speech from Sanya Tourism Development Commission deputy director James Zheng who emphasised the importane of duty-free to the island.
Inspired by developments in the Middle East at Dubai International airport in particular, Haikou Meilan International airport deputy chairman Wang Zhen spoke about growth and development at the airport, where the Offshore duty-free shops are operated by Hainan Duty Free Goods and plans to improve the retail offering and overall passenger experience. The Offshore duty-free policy in Hainan, relaxing of visa restrictions and encouragement of port sales to cruise passengers were also on the agenda.
A panel discussion headed by Tourvest Travel Retail in Africa managing director Eric de Jager then looked at how airports can create a sense of place. Citing its Out of Africa destination retail concept De Jager said "travel is fundamentally about culture" and urged airports to "Encapsulate everything a country’s got and turn it into a store."
The remainder of the panel consisted of Edge Design Institute managing director Gary Chang and Pragma UK divisional director Alex Avery. Chang offered his views as a frequent non-industry traveller, while Avery referred to work being done at Xi'an, Mumbai and Vancouver International airports.
The final session of the day saw HuiCong Research general manager Apple Zhai offer an insight into the spending patterns of Chinese business-class travellers based on five-years research across China's 10 most popular cities. Zhai briefly discussed various trends and popular aspirational products. According to Zhai, wealthy Chinese travellers prefer Air China over other airlines; Chow Tai Food is the most popular jewellery brand; personal recommendation remains crucial to brand success in China; and the quality of jewellery is more important than the design when selecting products.
One-to-One meetings followed the final presentation in which delegates from Chinese airports met with suppliers, before an organised group excursion to the CDFG store in Sanya. Another Louis Royer Cognac-sponsored beach cocktail event took place in the evening.
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