SIAL Middle East 2017 record 28% increase in visitors, AED3.3 billion worth of deals
Dec 14, 2017

ADFCA affirms role as auditing body for safe food practices
Jenaan pen deal to set up infrastructure to rear organic chickens in the UAE

Abu Dhabi, 14 December, 2017 --( ASIA TODAY )-- The 8th edition of SIAL Middle East has seen a growth of 28% year-on-year for visitor numbers, with the event organisers revealing that exhibitors have netted deals worth AED3.3 billion.

Joanne Cook, Managing Director for SIAL Middle East said: “With 20,000 registered visitors through our doors in the first two days of the exhibition, we take this as an encouraging sign that local and international government bodies, companies and investors have increased interests in the future of the food, beverage and hospitality in the UAE.”

At the Middle East Food Forum, the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) delivered a key session on the importance of their role as the auditing body for the safety, security and quality of food for outlets taking part in their Weqaya programme.

Thamer Al Qasimi, Chairman of the SIAL Middle East Organising Committee said: “The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) supervises food establishments to ensure compliance with health requirements and safe food practices, ensuring public access to safe food and avoiding foodborne diseases.

“We monitor food safety while verifying the conformity of food products to standard specifications which are related to food safety or food quality. The more we partner with governmental organizations to work on this project the stronger it will be.

“Changing the concepts of foods and the customer’s preferences will drive the industry to work towards change by providing healthier food options.”

In line with the initiative launched by ADFCA during the exhibition and under the framework of the ‘Year of Giving’, Jenaan provided close to one million palm trees to the UAE Red Crescent and signed an agreement with the Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre which will see agricultural investment company set up the infrastructure for raising, rearing and packaging organic free-range chickens within the UAE.

Louis Smit, CEO – Business Planning & Development Sector for Jenaan said: “The poultry project that we set up is something unique for the UAE and will see farmers grow free-range chickens that they can sell year-round.

“What we will do from Jenaan’s perspective is supply farmers with day-old chickens, the feed and technical and professional services. The farmers will then produce and grow the chickens and once they are ready for the market, we will buy them back from the farmer at a margin. This means Jenaan will effectively finance the project giving farmers a great incentive to get involved.

“The infrastructure will ensure the quality of the reared free-range chickens, and will include a production house with a large area where they can free-roam, which is a more humane way of raising poultry compared to your normal broilers.

“The chickens reared in these farms will provide quality meat and a premium product for the farmers to sell, and means less product for the UAE to import, greatly decreasing logistical costs and helping provide sustainable farming solutions for the country.”

Celebrating innovation as part of the DNA of SIAL events worldwide, the SIAL Innovation Area showcased and awarded some of the world’s most innovative products, guaranteeing an experience for attendees to learn about upcoming trends in the food and beverage sector.

Out of the 150 entries and 12 finalists for the awards, John Woods LTD took home the gold honours for their organic Sprouted Flaxseed products. John Woods, Director for John Woods LTD said: “We have been a family business for years now and we moved into healthy foods about 10 years ago now selling a range of nuts and fruits and berries.

For the Bronze award, UAE’s Al Rabiah Trading Company nabbed the prize for its almond milk, walnut milk and pistachio milk products.

“However, we decided there was one step further we could go and that was to sprout seeds: flax seeds. There’s no doubt that it is a much more nourishing product and beneficial for the digestive system and we believed this was something that needed to be on the market.”

Judged by XTC World Innovation, SIAL Innovation provided exhibitors with the opportunity to showcase new innovative products to thousands of attendees. Part of the global programme, the award is only for newly introduced food and beverage products, and the winning product will be displayed at all SIAL events worldwide.

SIAL Middle East ran with support from Host Sponsor: Abu Dhabi Chamber, Diamond Sponsor: Jenaan Investments, Silver Sponsors: Al Rawafed and Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre, Bronze Sponsor: Mai Dubai and The Deep Seafood Company, and Halal Certification Sponsor: Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology, and will return from 10-12 December 2018.

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Shopping tourism under analysis at FITUR 2018
Dec 14, 2017

In the January 18th session, the FITUR SHOPPING section will be discussing some of the key issues for this tourist segment that is already one of the main motivations for millions of people when it comes to choosing a destination

Madrid, 12 December 2017 --( ASIA TODAY )-- The upcoming edition of FITUR will again set the stage for analysing shopping tourism in its FITUR SHOPPING section. The Trade Fair, which is organised by IFEMA and will be staged from 17 to 21 January at Feria de Madrid, will thus discuss on 18 January some of the key issues for the development of this key segment of the tourism industry.-

On this occasion, FITUR SHOPPING will revolve around a series of round tables that will discuss topics such as: ‘Shopping tourism at the destination: global brands and local design’; ‘Shopping tourism in distinctive Madrid shops’; and ‘Shopping Tourism and Digitisation’.

Participating in the conferences will be the World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO, Madrid City Hall, Madrid Region, Festitur, the Buenos Aires Promotion Body, Andorra Turisme, Fundación Turismo Valencia, and companies such as Soluciones Turísticas, Isolée, Squarefer, Williamsburg Vintage Clothes and Casual Hotels.

Shopping tourism is now one of the main motivations for millions of people when it comes to choosing a destination for their holiday, as the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has highlighted on several occasions. Between January and September 2017, tax-free shopping increased by 18% in Spain, which means that revenue could exceed 2.3 billion euros.

International tourism outreach

FITUR 2018 will be the global meeting point for tourism professionals and will become, yet another year, the leading trade fair for Latin America’s inbound and outbound markets. Participating in the last staging were 9,893 exhibitor companies from 165 countries/regions; 135,838 trade participants and 109,134 visitors from the general public. Particularly noteworthy is the 18.8% increase in international trade visitors over the previous year. In addition, the volume of business appointments was as high as 6,800.

Together with the new FITUR FESTIVALS, FITUR 2018 will feature the regular FITURTECH Y sections, the Sustainability, Innovation, Technology and Business forums organised by the Hotel Technology Institute (ITH); Fitur Know-how & Export organised by SEGITTUR in collaboration with ICEX and FITUR; FITUR Shopping; FITUR Health together with Spaincares; and FITUR Gay (LGBT) organised by Diversity Consulting International. Added to this will be the staging of Investour, the Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa organised jointly by the UNWTO, Casa África and FITUR.

# # #

Helena Valera
International Press
Tel.: 0034 91 722 51 74

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Fitur Know-How & Export launches SEGITTURLab 2018 with six practical workshops that provide solutions for digital tourism
Dec 14, 2017

Gamification to promote innovation, how to apply chatbots to my business or the digital tourist’s customer journey are among the topics up for discussion in the workshops due to be staged as part of FITUR 2018, the International Tourism Trade Fair organised by IFEMA from 17 to 21 January

Madrid, 14 December 2017 --( ASIA TODAY )-- Fitur Know-How & Export 2018, the monographic section of the International Tourism Trade Fair, FITUR, devoted to digital transformation, is launching the second edition of SEGITTURLab, an ideas laboratory with six practical workshops for tourism entrepreneurs and professionals that seeks to provide responses for the needs emerging from digital tourism.

Gamification, chatbots, customer journey, virtual reality, design thinking and blockchains are the six topics set for this second edition of SEGITTURLab, featuring professionals and companies that are expert in each one of the subjects.

In the “Gamification to promote innovation in businesses” workshop, which will be imparted by the company Inteligencia Creativa, we will play a real round of Binnakle, a game through which responses will be found to a challenge faced by a tourism company.

The “How to apply chatbots in my tourism business” workshop, which will be imparted by Chatbot Chocolate and Stay-App, will conduct an overall review of chatbots, the technologies for developing them, the different use cases and the environments in which a chatbot can be deployed.

In the case of virtual reality, Iralta VR has designed a workshop dealing with the “10 tips for the good use of virtual reality in tourism”, which will cover from storytelling to 2D vs. 360 videos, the strategy for creating experiences or hardware and software for its production.

Aiming to gain better knowledge of the digital tourist, a workshop on “Customer Journey” will be imparted by the Hydra Digital agency in a highly participative format devised for learning about tourists’ behaviour in every stage of a trip.

The “Blockchains applied to tourism” workshop imparted by Sismotur seeks to show the potential of this technology, which we are sure will contribute to a more efficient and competitive development of the tourism industry.

The last of the workshops will focus on “Design Thinking applied to creating a tourist product”. To do this we will use a methodology based on co-creation through the design of thought processes, allowing us to arrive at the design of tourist products or services.

The workshops, which will be limited to 20 attendees and which require prior registration, have been designed according to highly practical work dynamics, allowing participants to gain the knowledge to implement in their tourism businesses everything they have learned.

Helena Valera
International Press
Tel.: 0034 91 722 51 74

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Weifang, Capital of Kites, Strives to be City of Industry, Culture, Dynamics and Quality
Dec 08, 2017

WEIFANG, China, Dec. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/-- On November 26, a dozen or more mainstream journalists, including Xinhua News Agency, The People's Daily, Guangming Daily and China News Service, reported extensively on the development of Weifang city. As an agricultural and cultural center in East China's Shandong province with some 2,000 years of history, the city of Weifang strives to become an industrial, culturally famous, dynamic and habitable city. To realize these objectives, Weifang attaches great importance to forming a modern industrial system, coordinating rural and urban development, seeking new driving forces for development, strengthening cultural soft power, reforms, improving people's livelihoods, and enhancing social governance.

As the birthplace of kites, Weifang hosted the world's first international kite festival in 1984 and enjoys the reputation of Capital of Kites.

In addition to being home to numerous natural and historic sites, Weifang is home to Weichai, China's leading conglomerate specialized in design, manufacturing and sale of diesel engines.

According to the Publicity Department of the CPC Weifang Municipal Committee, in the past five years, Weifang was recognized by the central authorities as a national modern agricultural demonstration zone, an agriculture-business interconnection standardization model city, a national agricultural open development comprehensive pilot zone, a high-end equipment manufacturing base in the region surrounding the Bohai Bay, and a national biosurfactant material industry base.

Source: The Publicity Department of the CPC Weifang Municipal Committee

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Bangkok Street Food Vendor Gets Michelin Star
Investvine, A Company of Inside Investor, Ltd.
Dec 07, 2017

A street food vendor in Bangkok’s old town received a Michelin star in the inaugural edition of the Michelin guide for the Thai capital, along with 16 high-class restaurants.

Seventy-year-old Jay Fai, or Auntie Fai, makes wok-fired dishes from a street shop called Raan Jay Fai in a small side-soi at 327 Maha Chai Road.

She is known for her delicious noodles with prawns and crab cooked over charcoal fires, and particularly her crab omelet. She can be easily spotted as she always wears ski goggles to protect her eyes from the hot oil sloshing around giant woks in her tiny shop house.

Jay Fai said she was “exited” when she accepted the award on December 4 at the five-star Grand Hyatt Bangkok hotel, dressed in a white chef’s outfit.

Her humble shop house started selling street food some 40 years ago, event guests learned. Since it has become one of the city’s most-revered culinary institutions, with chefs and restaurateurs singing Jay Fai’s praises and patrons queue up nightly for heaping portions of phad kee mao talay (drunken noodles with seafood), poo phad phong karee (stir-fried crab with yellow curry) and her legendary khai jeaw poo (crab omelet).

However, some customers are not so comfortable with her prices as the portions come at up to 1,000 baht ($31) each, which makes them around twelve times more expensive than ordinary street food and is in line with those at fancy restaurants. She defends herself saying that this goes into the top-quality food she uses and adds that “If people don’t like the prices, they can go elsewhere.”

“Our inspectors were thrilled to find a local culinary scene with an amazing vibrancy, myriad new restaurants, an astonishing variety of wonderful street food, but also Thai cuisine served in different forms,” said Michelin’s international director Michael Ellis in a statement.

Besides Bangkok, so far, Michelin has only awarded street food vendors in its Hong Kong and Singapore guides with a star, which changed their business significantly. For example, after appearing in the Michelin guide for Singapore as the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred meal, chicken-rice and noodle hawker Chan Hon Meng has been catapulted to international stardom and now exports his stall to Taiwan, Thailand and Australia.

Among the other restaurants, three received two stars, namely French restaurant Le Normandie at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, European restaurant Mezzaluna at the Lebua Hotel, and contemporary Indian restaurant Gaggan.

One star each was awarded to Bo.Lan, Nahm, Paste, Saneh Jaan, Savelberg, Suhring, Chim by Siam Wisdom, Elements, Ginza Sushi Ichi, J’aime by Jean-Michel Lorain, L’atelier de Joel Robuchon, Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin, Suhring and Upstairs at Mikkeller.

No three-star venues have been named in the first Michelin edition for Bangkok, while 81 others without star were mentioned as recommended.

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Company Investvine, A Company of Inside Investor, Ltd.
Contact Imran Saddique
The digital transformation of the tourism industry will be at the centre of the 6th staging of Fitur Know-How & Export
Nov 27, 2017

• This FITUR section will feature two new spaces, one devoted to virtual reality applied to tourism and another one to start-ups

• SEGITTURLab will hold six practical workshops for tourism entrepreneurs and professionals

• It will present the tourist app guide 2018 and award the prizes of “The AppTourism Awards 2018”

Madrid, 21 November 2017 --( ASIA TODAY )-- The digital transformation of the tourism industry will be at the centre of the 6th staging of Fitur Know-How & Export, an initiative organised by SEGITTUR and FITUR in collaboration with ICEX Spain Trade and Investment, seeking to drive forward the exportation of Spanish tourism knowledge.

Fitur Know-How & Export, which will be staged as part of FITUR 2018 from 17 to 19 January 2018, will occupy a 1,600 m2 exhibition space in Hall 10 of Feria de Madrid, where a smart tourist destination will be simulated in which technologies associated with digital transformation will take centre stage.

This area will also feature 40 exhibitor companies with innovative solutions for tourism in all its facets – hotel management, strategic consultancy, promotion, marketing, new products and services, etc.

This initiative seeks to support the internationalisation of Spanish tourism companies, which have the opportunity to showcase their potential and announce their innovative services and products to other international markets.

One of the main novelties at this staging is the creation of two spaces, one devoted to showing how virtual reality can help the tourism industry, where visitors can enjoy first-hand the experience of travelling before the actual trip through different solutions.

The second space –the Start-up Area- will be devoted to giving visibility to tourism projects in which new technologies are crucial, developed by start-ups which go hand in hand with the major accelerators.

SEGITTURLab, ideas laboratory
In addition, and given the success of the first staging, we will again feature SEGITTURLab, an ideas laboratory where various practical workshops will be held for tourism entrepreneurs and professionals. Maximum capacity will be for 20 people with prior registration.

Among the workshops due to be held are “Blockchain applied to tourism”; “The digital tourist’s customer journey”; “Virtual reality” or “Chatbot applications in tourism”.

We will also have a personalised advisory service with multilateral bodies thanks to the collaboration of ICEX Spain Trade and Investment, which will also participate in the auditorium in the Smart Talks devoted to supporting the internationalisation of Spanish tourism companies.

Smart Talks
As part of the Smart Talks programme we will analyse different aspects associated with digital transformation, discussing from chatbots to cybersecurity and from blockchains to virtual reality. We will also discuss different aspects to do with the development of smart tourist destinations and the tourism intelligence system.

Lastly we will present success cases of tourism entrepreneurs drawn from the different calls in the Emprendetur financing line. There will also be a session devoted to explaining how a start-up can be accepted by an accelerator.

During Fitur Know-how & Export we will present the Tourist App Guide 2018 and award the prizes of “The AppTourism Awards 2018”, organised jointly by SEGITTUR and FITUR.

Available on the SEGITTUR website,, is all the information on Fitur Know-how & Export 2018.

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Chilean cherries, blueberries and avocados showcased at FHC China 2017
Nov 19, 2017

Chile’s ASOEX took part in foodservice-focused trade show, which was staged from 14-16 November in Shanghai

SHANGHAI, CHINA, 16 November, 2017 --( ASIA TODAY )-- The Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) united with Chilean chef Ricardo Gonzalez to stage a special event showcasing the best in the country’s cherries, blueberries and avocados during the Food and Hotel China (FHC China) 2017 trade exhibition, which took place in Shanghai from 14-16 November.

ASOEX Director of Marketing for Europe and Asia, Charif Christian Carvajal, explained that Chilean fresh fruits were being promoted during the event through cooking shows, product tastings and gastronomy competitions.

“This is the first time that our sector, via the Blueberry, Cherry and Avocado Committees, has developed a cross-sector promotion in collaboration with Patagonia Mussels, Wines of Chile and ProChile,” said Carvajal. “Food and Hotel China is an important event focused
on the HoReCa sector, that is to say hotels, restaurants and caterers in China, which allows us to showcase the versatility and quality of our fruits to professionals in this sector.”

Carvajal continued: “We have developed several cookery shows under the leadership of Chilean chef Ricardo Gonzalez who has created a number of original recipes especially for the event, including duck salad with cherries, blueberry and feta cheese salad, mussels
in green salsa and avocado salad. This year, chef Gonzalez is also participating in a culinary competition which has been held as part of the exhibition.”

Carvajal added that Chile gained first place at the previous edition of FHC China thanks to originality and versatility of dishes created using Chilean avocados and blueberries. “By taking part in this fair, we are able to reach a captive audience in this sector such as importers
and distributors, as well as young chefs, and are able to demonstrate that there is a world of possibilities when it comes to dishes that can be created using our fruits,” he said.

According to Carvajal, FHC China has become a key platform for reaching an under-explored segment for fresh fruits in China in the form of hotels, restaurants and caterers, especially as regards Chinese restaurant chains, which have some of greatest penetration
at a global level within the country.

ASOEX’s participation at FHC China is part of a series of diverse initiatives that the Chilean fresh fruit sector is undertaking to consolidate both its position as the leading supplier of fruits to China, and to encourage greater consumption of Chilean produce and greater awards of its availability.
César Suárez, ProChile’s Director in Shanghai, added: “This is an important event for promoting Chilean products and it is the second time we have helped the private sector to be present at the show. We hope to be able to add new Chilean foods and drinks for the 2018 edition.”

As well as ASOEX’s Charif Christian Carvajal and ProChile’s César Suárez, the opening of the Chilean FHC China stand was attended by Chile’s Consul General in China, Ignacio Concha, Juan Enrique Lazo, Director of the Chilean Hass Avocado Committee, and Felipe Arriso from Patagonia Mussels.

Charif Christian Carvajal
Marketing Director, Europe & Asia, ASOEX
+34 915247437

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2017 ASTA China Summit Opening up Guiyang's Tourism Market in North America
Nov 19, 2017

GUIYANG, China, Nov. 16, 2017 -- American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) joined with Guiyang Municipal People's Government and Guizhou Provincial Tourism Development Committee when entering China for the first time. Aiming at the status quo of Chinese tourism market, they jointly established a platform for tourism professionals from home and abroad. Featuring treasured tourism route recommendations, tourism innovation, tourism negotiation and transactions and discussions about tourism industry development. Through "focusing on Chinese inbound tourism and promoting Chinese outbound tourism", they are dedicated to helping the realization of a seamless connection between tourism destinations and tourism enterprises, realizing exchanges and product transactions between travel agents from home and abroad and tourism industries to the maximum extent, and further promoting the branding of Chinese tourism destinations and the deepening of structural reform of the supply side.

Held successfully in Guiyang from Nov 5-16, 2017, ASTA China Summit 2017 was jointly hosted by Guiyang Municipal People's Government, Guizhou Provincial Tourism Development Committee and ASTA, while being organized by Guiyang Tourism Development Committee. It was comprised of three sections, namely, familiarization trips, industry conferences and the travel trade show. Among them, the familiarization trips inside Guizhou province were scheduled from Nov 5th to 8th and from Nov 12th to 15th; Nov 10th and 11th were for the familiarization trips in Guiyang and its surrounding places; from Nov 8th to 9th, there were 6 activities held in Guiyang International Ecology Conference Center, including tourism industry conferences, the trade show, special tourism promotional events and so on. Over 130 travel agents from North America and 200 Chinese representatives from tourism destinations and enterprises carried out pragmatic business talks and negotiations, through which they reached a series of consensus and achievements, thereby initiating a new cooperation stage for the market exploitation of China inbound tourism.

Guiyang was the hosting city for ASTA China Summit 2017. Developing Guiyang's international tourism market and turning Guiyang into a world-famous ecology-friendly tourism city have positive effects and profound significance. The summit will further promote and introduce the tourism products of Guizhou and Guiyang from multi angles and full dimensions, further improve their reputation and influence while increasing their market shares and boosting the inbound tourism market. On one hand, it can help more foreign premium travel agents understand Guizhou, introduce Guizhou's tourism products of in-depth tours to the attending foreign travel agents, guide them to set up partnership more conveniently with Chinese premium travel agencies, especially those regional ones, realize the entrance of Guizhou's tourism products into America, promote the sales of Guizhou's tourism routes by American travel agents, expand the market shares of Guizhou's tourism in American market, boost the quality of Guizhou's tourism products, and finally attract more American tourists to Guizhou and improve their travel experience in Guizhou. On the other hand, this summit can drive Chinese travel agents with relatively strong ability of business exploration to increase Guizhou's tourism products while creating opportunities for Guizhou's local travel agents to directly cooperate with famous travel organizations in the tourist source market.

Walking into China, exploring Guizhou's secret areas and initiating a tourism feast

During the familiarization trips before, in the middle of, and after the conferences to Zhenyuan, Kaili, Pingtang, Huangguoshu, Tianlong Tunpu and Ancient Qingyan Town in Guizhou, representatives from many American travel agents carried out discussions with personnel from the tourism industry of Guizhou. They will jointly design and develop Guizhou's tourism routes and products for American tourists, thereby attracting foreign tourists to come. The familiarization trips were aimed at further expediting the establishment of a world-famous tourism destination, improving the reputation and influence of Guizhou's tourism brand in abroad, making foreign travel agents more deeply and comprehensively understand Guizhou's tourism scenic areas and spots so that they can jointly discuss, design and excavate its highlights, further develop the tourism products suitable for American tourists, thereby attracting foreign tourists to come to Guizhou for travelling.

Meanwhile, in order to help more American tourists know Guizhou and walk into Guiyang, based on the market development strategy of "walking out and inviting in", this summit especially tailor made and released various interline tourism products for China's inbound tourists which are centered on Guizhou and radiates Guangzhou, Yunnan, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangxi. This special product series covers 5 themes, "Brave Guizhou"-mountain adventure, "Sing in Guizhou"- ethnic customs, "Mountains and waters in Guizhou"-natural landscapes, "Guizhou under the moon"-festival experiences, "Gorgeous Guizhou"-themed photograpy.

Ms. Hou Ying (Isabella Hou), President of China Chapter of ASTA, said that, a survey about "American travelling patterns" indicates that American tourists expect most the unique culture, natural landscape and delicious food in their leisure travelling, which make Guizhou and Guizyang stand out from so many tourism destinations in China. When Mr. Robert Duglin, Vice President of ASTA visited Guizhou for the first time, he noticed the stretching mountains, magnificent land and colorful ethnic customs stating: "This is the real China, American tourists are certain to like it here." Mr. Zane Kerby, President of ASTA, held up his thumb to the reporter and said: "The ancient Zhenyuan town is so beautiful! This trip is so worthwhile! So great!" In their hearts, Guizhou not only provides the best tourism products for America, but also provides them with unforgettable cultural feast in their lives. While, Guiyang targets at forging a world-famous tourism city featured with ecology and advance the development of the tourism industry with a open mindset, which also leaves a deep impression for the American travel agents who attended the familiarization trips.

Travel agents from home and abroad taking one-on-one talks and negotiations

To make the conference more productive, during the ASTA China Summit 2017, the buyers and sellers were organized to carry out an one-on-one round table negotiation, in which over 200 travel agents from home and abroad took part in, including ASTA, Sun Knights Travel, American Airlines, Ctrip and China International Travel Service. The participants carried out in-depth talks and negotiations about "the customization and sales of regional interline products centered on Guizhou+", "overseas business development and marketing cooperation", "the display and marketing of treasured routes of Chinese tourism destinations", and "information sharing about Chinese inbound tourism". According to relevant information, this one-on-one communication will not only expand their business cooperation, but also realize the seamless connection between travel agents from home and abroad and the tourism industry, and provide effective basis and directions for the design, development and international marketing of Chinese inbound tourism products and routes.

The colorful Guizhou being awarded as 2018 ASTA Key Strategic Destination Partner in China while the cool Guiyang awarded as The Most Promising Tourism City of China in 2018 by ASTA

Guizhou was recommended by New York Times as "52 Places to Go in 2016". The promo video of Guizhou broadcast by CNN stoked up a "wind of colorful Guizhou" and Guizhou was called "the mysterious oriental strength", which drew attention from international media including the French State TV Station. Guizhou is becoming a place where tourists from all over the world can enjoy mountains and waters indulgently, recollect nostalgia and relax their souls. The series of achievements helped Guizhou to become a burgeoning tourism destination in the world. As the provincial capital of Guizhou, Guiyang is the center of politics, economy and culture of the province as well as the provincial tourist center. In recent years, Guiyang's tourism made great strides and its brand of "the Summer Resort of China" became well-known around the world. Guiyang has well-rounded development and maintains positive growth, while its tourism industry keeps "spurting" and is continuously upgrading and changing. Guiyang is marching toward all-for-one tourism with firm and big strides, while aiming at forging a world-famous tourism city featured with ecology and sharing "green" dividends with the whole world.

During this ASTA China Summit, Guizhou province was awarded by ASTA with the title of "2018 Chinese Key Strategic Partnership Destination", while Guiyang won the title of "2018 Chinese Tourism City with the Biggest Potential".

"The Biggest Potential" was vividly embodied by the U.S. Outbound Tourism Market Research jointly released by Beyond Summits Ltd and ASTA in the conference, which pointed out that in 2016, there was an expediting growth of online inbound tourism in Guiyang, the number of inbound tourists increased by 17% and the US became the biggest source country of online inbound tourists for Guiyang.

"In the past, Guiyang's inbound tourism was focused on Asia-Pacific countries, such as, Japan, Korea and Singapore. Tapping the distant North American market is still a brand-new subject," said Yuan Yunlong, Director of Guiyang Tourism Development Committee. Taking advantage of the ASTA China Summit, the travel agents from North America can visit and understand Guizhou and Guiyang in person. "The nation is the world, we should see our own advantages, reversely utilize high-end market standards to push various jobs about tourism development, take reference from the successful experience of European-American countries in tourism development and continuously introduce international talents," said Yuan Yunlong.

Through the cooperation among American travel agents, domestic and local Guizhou travel agents and tourism destination cities, this summit will effectively improve Guizhou's reputation and popularity while further upgrading of its inbound tourism market. The Travel Agency Branch of Guiyang Tourism Association and ASTA signed the cooperation memorandum about tourists exchange and they will carry out comprehensive cooperation in fields including tourism publicity, tourism product research and development. As a result, the tourism exchange and cooperation between the two sides will thereby enter a new stage of institutionalized development. The travel agents from home and abroad also signed cooperation memorandums so as to expand their new space in tourism cooperation.

In the part of keynote speech, Ms. Hou Ying (Isabella Hou), President of China Chapter of ASTA, Cheng Yong, member of the party committee of China Southern Airlines (Group) Co., Ltd., Xiong Xing, Vice President of Ctrip, Zhang Guangrui, Honorary Director of Tourism Research Center of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Zane Kerby, President of ASTA and other authoritative experts in the tourism industry attended the conference and made brilliant speeches themed on "the Opportunities and Performance Brought by Chinese Inbound Tourism", in which they carried out in-depth analysis and interpretation about the advantages of the development of Chinese inbound tourism, the measures taken by aviation enterprises to promote inbound tourism, how tourism enterprises realize facilitation and quality improvement, and the significance of the ASTA China Summit 2017, and put forward a series of prospective opinions and suggestions about deepening cooperation.

Mr. Zane Kerby said in his keynote speech that: "As per the historical data from ASTA, after the marketing events held by ASTA, relevant tourism products of the destination will enjoy a remarkable increase in sales volume, 77% of the event participants expect to bring more customers to the destination in the future. Therefore, in the future it can be expected that the Southwest of China centered on Guiyang will become a new highlight and growth point of China's inbound tourism of the North American market. To attract more American tourists to China, the supporting and incentive policies made by Chinese and American governments is very pivotal. It is recommended that China should provide diversified and suitable products and improve service quality so as to improve the satisfaction of American tourists on their travels in China and leave them with excellent travel experience."

Mr. Zhang Guangrui, Honorary Director of Tourism Research Center of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said that, Americans generally have little understanding about China, so it is necessary for China to target the American market to carry out corresponding marketing strategies whose emphasis should shift from "country to country" to "region to region". What's more, there are two generations of old and new immigrants in America, so friends and relatives visiting take an important role in Chinese inbound tourism market, which is driven by family bond and has tremendous growth space.

The interline products customized for inbound tourists to China centered on Guizhou and Guiyang while radiating Guangzhou, Yunnan, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangxi being promoted to the North American market

It is worthy to mention that in order to attract more American tourists to know and visit Guizhou and Guiyang, this summit especially customized and launched for the inbound tourists to China various interline tourism products centered on Guizhou and Guiyang while radiating Guangzhou, Yunnan, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangxi. Meanwhile, preferential policies in aspects of aviation, scenic spots and hotels will be released to encourage the customization of more themed tourism routes and products suitable for different targeted customers to be sold in the American market. A long-term platform and communication mechanism is expected to be established as a result.

Beyond Summits Ltd is the exclusive representative of ASTA in China and supported successfully Guiyang of Guizhou Province becoming the host city of ASTA China Summit 2017. China Southern Airlines is the Exclusive Strategic Airline Partner of ASTA China Summit 2017, providing quality air service for all the American travel agents attending the summit.

Source: Guiyang Tourism Development Committee

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Popular Japanese Mascot Kumamon Greets MTR Passengers with MTR x KUMAMOTO Souvenir Ticket Sets
Nov 15, 2017

HONG KONG --( ASIA TODAY )-- Adorable Japanese character “Kumamon” will turn into a tourist ambassador to greet MTR passengers and introduce them to four famous sightseeing spots in Kumamoto, Japan through a new set of MTR souvenir tickets. Starting from 26 November 2017, MTR Corporation will launch over four consecutive weeks a series of limited edition “MTR x KUMAMOTO” Souvenir Ticket Sets with different themes, namely “Dazzling”, “Colourful”, “Joyful” and “Warmth” featuring four scenic places in Kumamoto.

Priced at HK$150, each souvenir ticket set comprises a souvenir ticket1, an exquisite ticket holder and a designated Kumamon robot train.

“Kumamon is a beloved Japanese character for many Hong Kong people. It is our pleasure to launch souvenir ticket sets featuring this cuddly character as well as introduce Kumamoto, a Japanese prefecture filled with beautiful scenery, to our passengers. We hope our passengers can enjoy a joyful festive season with their loved ones and Kumamon,” said Ms Jeny Yeung, Commercial Director of MTR Corporation.

Each souvenir ticket is valid for one single journey to any destination on the MTR1 on or before 31 January 2018. Customers can retain the souvenir ticket after use. Malfunctioning tickets can be exchanged on or before 31 January 2018 at any MTR Customer Service Centres (except Airport Express, Light Rail, Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau stations). Tickets sold are non-refundable and non-transferrable.

Details of the souvenir ticket sets are as follows:

Date of Public Sale (while stocks last) and Souvenir Ticket Set includes:

26 November – 2 December 2017: “Dazzling” Set
• A souvenir ticket1
• An exquisite ticket holder
• A designated Kumamon robot train

3 December – 9 December 2017: “Colourful” Set
• A souvenir ticket1
• An exquisite ticket holder
• A designated Kumamon robot train

10 December – 16 December 2017: “Joyful” Set
• A souvenir ticket1
• An exquisite ticket holder
• A designated Kumamon robot train

17 December – 23 December 2017: “Warmth” Set
• A souvenir ticket1
• An exquisite ticket holder
• A designated Kumamon robot train

Customers who purchase “MTR x KUMAMOTO” souvenir ticket sets can enter a lucky draw for a chance to win two round trip air tickets to Japan with accommodation for three nights in Kumamoto prefecture. For details of the lucky draw, please visit

In addition, limited edition Kumamon Stackable Set will also be available for purchase at HK$120 each, starting from 26 November 2017 while stocks last.

The souvenir ticket sets and the limited edition Kumamon Stackable Set will be available for sale on the abovementioned dates from the start of MTR train service at all MTR Customer Service Centres2 (unpaid area). Each customer can buy up to two sets per item while stocks last.

Furthermore, MTR Club members can enjoy priority purchase through the MTR Club’s website at from tomorrow (15 November 2017) to 21 November 2017 or by cash at the Tourist Services Centre at MTR Admiralty Station (unpaid area) from 23 to 24 November 2017. Each member can purchase up to two sets while stocks last. More details about the souvenir ticket sets are available on or the MTR Hotline (2881 8888).

1. Except Airport Express, East Rail Line First Class, journeys to or from Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau stations, Light Rail, MTR Bus and MTR Feeder Bus. If the ticket is used to travel to either Lo Wu Station or Lok Ma Chau Station in breach of the Terms and Conditions, the holder is liable to pay the full single journey fare between the station of entry and Lo Wu Station or Lok Ma Chau Station. The ticket will then be returned to the holder for use on a valid journey. Passengers changing lines between Tsim Sha Tsui and East Tsim Sha Tsui stations have to exit and re-enter the system and a new ticket must be purchased for the second stage of the journey.

2. Except Airport Express, Light Rail, Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau, Racecourse and Disneyland Resort stations.

- End -

Venus Chui
MTR Corporation

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution

Hong Kong Wine & Spirits Fair Draws to Successful Close
Nov 13, 2017

12 November 2017 – The 10th edition of the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair concluded yesterday (11 November). The fair, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), was held from 9 to 11 November at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. A total of 1,070 exhibitors from 38 countries and regions presented exquisite wines from around the world.

Nearly 20,000 trade buyers from 70 countries and regions attended the three-day Wine & Spirits Fair, up 2.3 per cent from last year. Attendance from individual countries recorded encouraging growth, including the Chinese mainland, Malaysia, Vietnam, France, the United States, Australia and Chile. Over 25,000 public visitors attended the fair on Saturday when it was open to ticketed public visitors aged 18 and above. The blend of trade and public participants created a vibrant platform for business.

New mainland customs facilitation scheme to bolster Hong Kong’s wine hub status
Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, was the guest of honour at the Wine & Spirits Fair’s opening ceremony. He used the occasion to announce that wine re-exported from Hong Kong would enjoy instant customs clearance in all 42 mainland customs districts with immediate effect. The measures were previously applicable to only five mainland customs districts, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Under the customs facilitation scheme, pre-registered Hong Kong wine traders can submit advance wine consignment information online and enjoy instant customs clearance when the consignments arrive at mainland ports. The measures apply only to wines re-exported to the mainland through Hong Kong.

Benjamin Chau, Deputy Executive Director of the HKTDC, welcomed the new measures. “Since the Government of the HKSAR eliminated all duty-related customs on wine and implemented special clearance measures under CEPA (Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement) in 2008, Hong Kong has developed into a wine trading and distribution centre for the region. In particular, Hong Kong has become a platform for trading wine with the mainland, which has long been the largest market for wines re-exported from the city. As the facilitation measures have now been extended to all customs districts, our wine traders will enjoy faster customs clearance and greater certainty when re-exporting wines through Hong Kong,” said Mr Chau.

“Adding to our advantages such as advanced infrastructure, transportation networks and experienced industry professionals, the new measures will further bolster Hong Kong’s standing as a wine trading hub by attracting more global wine traders to access the mainland market through the city.”

Asia Wine Academy debuts

To provide the industry with a comprehensive trading and exchange platform, the HKTDC organised more than 70 events during the Wine & Spirits Fair. Marking its 10th edition, the Council joined hands with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Hotel and Tourism Management to co-organise the Asia Wine Academy. Masters of Wine Jeannie Cho Lee and Steve Charters hosted two intensive courses entitled “Contemporary Trends in Wine Consumption” and “Mastering Tasting & Rising Wine Trends.” At the Wine Industry Conference held on the first day of the fair, Debra Meiburg, another Master of Wine, conducted the session “Trends to Watch in 2018: The Business of Bubbles and Beyond”, where speakers shared their insights on the market outlook for various wines, with a special focus on sparkling wines.

New Champagne Avenue uncorks Asian opportunities
This year’s Wine & Spirits Fair featured a new pavilion organised by the Syndicat Général des Vignerons de la Champagne of France, which showcased seven champagne makers from four wine regions in Champagne, France. Wine tastings were held at the new Champagne Avenue to promote the champagnes from small and medium-sized wine producers.

During the three-day fair, a total of more than 20 champagnes were showcased and 14 wine tastings were held at the Champagne Avenue. ”The atmosphere at the Wine & Spirits Fair was good. We have met a lot of buyers, especially those from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Japan who have expressed strong interest in our champagnes. We see strong potential for growth for the champagne market in Asia,” said Clotilde Chauvet, Winemaker of French champagne supplier Marc Chauvet, an exhibitor at the fair.

Asian buyers thirsty for international wines
Johnson Chang, Purchasing Director of 1919 Wines & Spirits Platform Technology Co Ltd, a renowned mainland-based wine e-retailer and services provider, said: “At the fair, we have placed an order for 150,000 bottles of wine with a French exhibitor and another for 25 container loads of wine with an Australian exhibitor. The HKTDC’s business matching service has helped us reach different exhibitors and enhanced our sourcing efficiency.”

Fair Website:
Hong Kong Wine
Asia Wine Academy:
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition:
Product highlights and photo download: Click here

For more comments from exhibitors and buyers, please visit

Media Enquiries
Please contact the HKTDC's Communication and Public Affairs Department:

Agnes Wat Tel: (852) 2584 4554

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution