Global Traveler: Tell us about yourself.
Xinhong Zhang: I have been working in the CNTO L.A. office for two years. Prior to Los Angeles, I was in Beijing working for an international corporation in cooperation with the government tourism office and first began my work with the CNTO office in London 10 years ago.
GT: What are the current and up-and-coming business cities in China?
XZ: The established and growing business cities in China can be categorized by the gateways of airlines coming into China. Beijing, followed by Shanghai, rank as the one and two business cities of China, with Guangzhou, formally Canton, coming in third.
Municipalities also fall under the major business cities in China. Municipalities are like provinces, as the city mayor has the equivalent power of a governor in a city such as Shanghai. After Guangzhou, the largest municipality is Chongqing in the southwest followed by the Municipality Tianjin.
Along the China Coast in the east, special economic zones have been created and are resulting in a positive effort to grow current and future business. We can name these cities by going down the coast. Starting in the north we have Dalin, a port city, and Qingdao. Heading toward the south is Ningbo and then Xiamen. Additionally, business activities are moving westward to central parts like Wuhan, Xian and Chengdu in the southwest and Kunming.
To ensure positive economic growth throughout the whole country, the mayors in more than 600 cities are working hard to make their city stand out from the rest. They study expertise from foreign countries and neighboring provinces to promote an economic boom. One example of this growth is that both the central and local governments have created very successful trade fairs. One well-known trade fair is the Canton spring and autumn fair as well as the annual Xiaman trade fair. To complement the trade fairs, private and public companies are creating competition among themselves allowing their industries grow more quickly.
GT: Do you have any numbers that indicate the amount of American business travelers who extend their trips to include leisure travel?
XZ: Our 2005 statistics show that 1.5 million Americans arrived in China. The mix between businesses and leisure is harder to measure, but we have recorded 334,633 business travelers. The trend tends to focus on leisure travel and is complemented by business meetings and incentive. The CNTO will continue to target key areas on the East and West Coasts of the United States. The growing number of visitors to China will also be attributed to second- and third-generation Chinese-Americans traveling back to China to visit friends and relatives.
GT: What is the projection of American travelers to China in the next five years?
XZ: Travel and tourism between China and the Unites States will steadily rise, especially as more airlines increase their gateways to China. There are currently 54 flights a week to China and in 2008 there will be more than 200 flights a week. This is very encouraging, as more key American airlines will generate more tourist and business travel with friends and relatives also going back to China.
IHG® Hotels & Resorts certainly has a lot to celebrate, starting with an incredible growth story. Over the past five years, IHG has acquired or launched six new brands: Six Senses® Hotels Resorts Spas, Regent® Hotels & Resorts, Vignette™ Collection, voco™ hotels, avid® hotels and Atwell Suites™. Most recently, IHG reached an important milestone with its 6,000th open hotel. The company looks to further expand its portfolio by 30 percent with 1,800 hotels in the development pipeline, with significant focus on growth in the luxury segment where IHG is positioned as one of the top two hotel chains.
This past May, the location of Dunfermline in Fife, Scotland, was granted status as a city of its own during Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Not too shabby for a town that’s actually been around for a while, boasting structures dating to the 11th century.
Marriott Bonvoy and American Express recently debuted changes to the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card. The card, aimed at helping small business owners turn business expenses into travel rewards, now provides new and existing card members with a 7 percent Room Rate Discount on eligible bookings at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels; four times Marriott Bonvoy points at restaurants worldwide; and complimentary Gold Elite status. These changes are in addition to the card’s other existing benefits.
Whether you prefer a villa on the beach or an ultra-luxe suite downtown, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Los Cabos.
PHOTO: © BOGDAN LAZAR | DREAMSTIME.COM,
National Rum Day is right around the corner on Aug.16, meaning it’s time to start planning your celebration. Sandals Resorts, the all-inclusive Caribbean resort company, shares recipes from mixologists, allowing rum fans to celebrate as if they are staying on property.
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