Prevue asked Dawei Wu, China National Tourist Office’s deputy director, his thoughts on incentive trends for 2011.
Q: How do the physical attributes of China contribute to the success of an incentive program?
A: China has a history of over 5,000 years as one of the world’s most ancient civilizations. Currently China boasts 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ranking 3rd in the world. Culture and history are the most important attractions for incentive travelers.
Q: What are some major trends you’re seeing in incentive planning?
A: As the two largest economies in the world, the United States and China are deepening cooperation in business, which will likely increase incentive visitors to both countries. In 2010, business travelers including MICE accounted for 26% of American arrivals to China. Most incentive travelers are still focusing on the major cities like Beijing, Xian, Guiling and Shanghai.
Q: What are some area activities popular for visiting incentive groups?
A: In Beijing, the capital city of China, incentive groups will typically pay a visit to sites like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven during the day, just to name only a few. At night, they will often watch the Peking Opera or Chinese Gong Fu show. Quite a few shows are going on at night in cities like Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province and Lijiang in Yunnan Province, which both attract incentive groups.
Q: What are some unique golf and spa product in China?
A: Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen is the world’s largest golf club according to the Guinness World Records. Winner of multiple international awards, the 7.7 square mile golf complex features 12 resort and championship courses designed by golf’s greatest legends and course architects.
China also has an extensive and rich network of spas and hot springs. Jiuhua SPA & Resort in the suburb area of Beijing, originally the royal garden exclusively used by emperors, is a five-star resort built with a classical court garden. Each guest room in this resort has access to the hot spring.
Q: What are some lesser known experiences that incentive planners should consider?
A: Beijing is abundant in historical attractions and Shanghai is a modern metropolis, however there are many, many other exciting places and tours that are also worth considering for incentive planners.
There is the vast interior of China that has to be discovered. Unlike sightseeing, Yangtze River Cruises are a good way to relax after city tours. Similar options are deluxe train tours to Tibet, the highest plateau in the world, and a Buddhist holy site. Heilongjiang is a ski resort in winter. There are also the cities along the Silk Road extending westward to the border of China that used to be the trading route between China and Europe. And do not forget the Shangri-La area in southwest China’s Yunnan province, with splendid scenery and culture.