WTM-ChinaContact forum on China’s travel industry takes place on 14th November from 10:00-17:30 in South Gallery room 21/22, Wor

Published: 09 Nov 2007

In recent years and since the announcement of Beijing being the next Olympic city, attitudes towards sports have changed dramatically. This was encouraged by major marketing drives of leading international (and some domestic) sports related brands of shoes, clothing and equipment. It has happened at a time of new-found prosperity in Urban China allowing more leisure time and higher spending power for China’s young.

The most striking developments have taken place in the take up of football across the country. Events such as the World Cup in Korea and Japan and most recently in Germany were compulsory television viewing. Office staff staggered to work re-eyed each day after spending all night watching matches from Europe. From white collar workers to taxi driver, everyone knows the names of the top football players and clubs in Europe and South America. From almost no where, football became a passion for a country not known for being very passionate.

For China’s rich, newly adopted sports that have become a household name almost overnight include golfing and skiing. When combining these new pastimes with the eagerness to travel abroad, you get a completely new travel pattern that has not existed in China before – sports tourism. This is the topic of one of the sessions during the upcoming forum on China’s tourism sector at World Travel Market.

This session focuses asks how to make the hype around the Beijing Olympic Games pay dividends in terms of increased tourism revenues for Western destinations? Whether it means taking advantage of the fact that many Chinese are planning to escape the mayhem and spend that period out of China or that Chinese will be exposed to so many new countries and destinations. With London hosting the 2012 Olympics, this special link should serve to enhance Britain's image in China and with it Chinese tourism.

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