Europe becomes Strategic Partner of ITB China 2021 and aims to revive Chinese tourism in Europe

  • ETC will showcase a multitude of European destinations through their hybrid EUROPE pavillion at ITB China 2021
  • The latest Chinese market data reveals the sentiment of the majority for travelling abroad is warming up
  • Chinese outbound tourism market is both an opportunity and challenge for European DMOs

Many Chinese are looking forward to travelling abroad according to recent data collected by the European Travel Commission (ETC), which is strengthening ties with ITB China as a Strategic Partner in 2021. ETC will have a strong presence at this year’s hybrid show, reflecting the optimism of Chinese tourism returning to Europe, maintaining close ties with Chinese agents & buyers, and learning more about new market trends and changes in consumer behavior. ITB China 2021, the Marketplace for China’s Travel Industry will take place as a physical event in Shanghai from 24 – 26 Nov this year, with a virtual extension from early November until the end of December.

Mr. Eduardo Santander, Executive Director at European Travel Commission said: “The ETC is delighted to join ITB China 2021 as a Strategic Partner. We look forward to showcasing a multitude of European destinations and experiences through our hybrid EUROPE pavillion. As Europe is opening up for travel, we believe it is crucial to intensify dialogue between European and Chinese partners on the most pressing issues to finally embark on our common journey towards the recovery of tourism”.

Confirmed European destinations exhibiting in the EUROPE pavillion include Austria (Austrian National Tourist Office), Croatia (Croatian National Tourist Board), Czech Republic (CzechTourism), Denmark & Norway (Scandinavian Tourist Board), Germany (German National Tourist Board), Isle of Ireland (Tourism Ireland), Netherlands (Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions), Poland (Polish Tourism Organisation), Portugal (VisitPortugal), France (Atout France), and more.

In addition to the EUROPE pavilion, ITB China will show strong individual presences of other major European destinations, such as Finland (Visit Finland), Italy (ENIT – Italian National Tourist Board), Malta (Malta Tourism Authority), Spain (TOURSPAIN), Switzerland (Switzerland Tourism) and United Kingdom (VisitBritain).

The pandemic has accelerated changes that were already evident before, creating both opportunities and challenges for tourism organizations and hospitality representatives to keep pace with the market. According to Santander, the most important post-pandemic Chinese travel trend is the shift from group travel aiming at visiting as many countries at once as possible, towards FIT and semi-customized travel focusing on more in-depth experiences.

A new model of more conscious and slow travel is emerging. Especially among young, tech-savvy, and bilingual Chinese people traveling off the beaten path, self-driving and small private groups will become more and more popular. One trend has remained: Chinese tourists still value the safety of travel. At the same time, the flexibility of travel bookings plays a much more crucial role than before.

Mr. James Liang, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board of said: “With the continuous improvement in global vaccination levels and the launch of the EU Digital COVID Certificate to facilitate safe free movement inside the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are full of confidence in the recovery of international tourism.’s recent survey shows an optimistic trend.

For example, the searching number of air tickets by Chinese mainland users from China to Europe has surged nearly four times recently. Europe has always been a popular destination for Chinese travellers, and is preparing the relevant measures to promote European tourism, as well as work with our partners to drive the revival of global tourism.”

Meanwhile, Europe’s tourism sector is working to support the reopening and has joined forces to encourage Europeans to travel abroad this summer responsibly. Last month, the ETC presented ‘Open up to Europe’, a major promotional campaign to reassure potential tourists that destinations and tourism businesses in Europe have implemented all the necessary health and sanitary protocols and are open for visitors. The campaign, led by ETC and co-funded by the EU with the support of more than 30 destinations and travel brands, will be rolled out across Europe as restrictions are eased and countries open up for travel.