Chinese firm Alibaba made a pitch to potential partners in the European travel trade saying it expects the number of Chinese tourists to the continent to rocket.
Kevin Liu gave a presentation on the growth of the marketplace business and its journey into the travel industry through its standalone travel arm Alitrip at Travel Technology Europe which took place at London Olympia.
He said he expects the number of Chinese tourists coming to Europe to rise from 120 million in 2016 to 200 million a year.
Liu said Alitrip, part of the Alibaba Group which includes online payment giant Alipay, is able to partner with tourism providers – including tour operators, airlines, hotels and travel agents – and help them market to the Chinese audience.
Their services, which work on a commission basis, include translation and offering a well-known brand and trusted booking platform to Chinese customers.
Liu said: “We can help them reach Chinese customers.
“Some hotels still have booking systems which only allow direct bookings when Chinese tourists can’t access their websites directly. We can help them accelerate this access to their platform.”
That, he added, could include helping them obtain licences to run websites in China, which he explained was a legal requirement in the country.
When asked how European travel firms could appeal to Chinese tourists, he said that Chinese travellers two main priorities were “historical monuments and shopping” and said kettles and free Wifi were must haves in hotels.
He also said that the younger Chinese generation is increasingly looking for experiential travel and luxury touring while older generations prefer the “traditional” escorted tours.