Philip C. Wolf, host of the EU-China panel at this year’s ITB China event, has a long background with ITB, dating back to his time at the helm of PhocusWright. We asked him what his thoughts were about this year’s edition of the show in China.
This year’s growth in exhibition space of over 50% year-on-year is exceptional. But ITB’s organisers, Messe Berlin, have a certain way of running trade shows. There’s a quality standard there, and all these appointments, so it’s not just producing a show, but making sure all the different constituents that attend get some value out of it.
The session you moderated was about EU-China relations, and the EU-China Year. What was the upshot of this?
Only 2% of Europe’s inbound international travellers come from China. So, it really begs the question. It’s kind of like unemployment. Is there a natural growth rate of Chinese tourists to Europe? And then how much of a catalyst will this really be? Because every other country in the world is trying to lure these tourists. From my perspective, it’s really interesting, because there is this healthy global competition for international travellers, especially from China. As the Asian economies prosper, that means more outbound travellers. Travel and tourism is like one of the world’s great balancing acts. Every issue is involved, from raw census practicalities, the economy, you need to be of a certain income level before you can travel, then you have the politics, the visas, environmental issues, capacity issues… it’s really like “the great equaliser”.
Photo: Philip C. Wolf – Founder, PhocusWright