Tag Archives: banqueting

Hotel operators and events organisers who don’t actively encourage tourists from mainland China could miss out on the opportunity of the century, especially in the luxury and “super-luxury” end of the market.

That’s evident from this year’s Chinese International Travel Monitor, recently released by online booking giant Hotels.com.

One of the revelations in the 2015 edition, the fourth, of the annual report into China outbound tourism is the growing financial muscle of the top 10% of spenders.

On average they shell out RMB 13,800 (AUD 2,817) a day, more than four times the spend of the average Chinese outbound traveller. But the top 5% spend even more: an astonishing RMB 20,896 (AUD 4,265) a day – indicating the emergence of a “super-luxury” class of traveller.

Chinese couple reading map on trainHotels.com’s latest report is a reminder for countries like Australia to pull out all stops to accommodate Chinese travellers and tailor their services for this market, as the potential is huge,” says Katherine Cole, Regional Director, Australia, New Zealand & Singapore for Hotels.com.

Katherine does not exaggerate. According to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecast, outbound Chinese travellers could number 174 million in four years’ time, spending about US$264 billion annually. That compares with around 107 million travellers in 2014. The forecast revenue is roughly equivalent to the GDP of a developed country like Singapore. “Clearly, the Chinese dragon is still building steam,” says Abhiram Chowdhry, Vice President and Managing Director APAC for the Hotels.com brand.

Australia came out on top, for the second year in a row, as the most desired destination for Chinese travellers to visit in the next 12 months. Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane were named among the world’s top 10 cities they intend to visit.

Millennials’ growing influence

The report reveals the growing influence of Gen Y travellers, tech-savvy “millennials” aged 18 to 35. Fifty-nine per cent of hoteliers surveyed say they’ve experienced an increase in Chinese guestsaged 35 or under in the past year and they expect this trend to continue.

Meantime the use of mobile phones for planning and booking travel has skyrocketed. In the past 12 months, 80% of Chinese travellers used an online device including mobiles, desktops and laptops to plan and book, compared with only 53% last year.

The top three countries they actually visited last year were the US, Thailand and Hong Kong. The top 10% of spenders paid an average of 2,723 RMB (AUD556) per night on hotels alone.

Top 10 countries Chinese travellers say they would like to visit in the next 12 months 

Rank Country
1 Australia
2 Japan
3 France
4 Hong Kong
5 South Korea
6 US
7 Maldives
8 Germany
9 Thailand
10 Taiwan


To read the full report, visit www.CITM2015.com.

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In addition to being able to berth the world’s largest cruise ships – of up to 220,000 tonnes – Hong Kong’s glitzy, high-tech new cruise terminal at Kai Tak is making its mark as a genuinely different big-events space.

Opened in 2013, the 200,000-square-metre facility is set on the site of the old airport close to the heart of the city. It’s already hosted major shows including well-attended events for Mercedes, Audi, and Tesla, boxing tournaments and large-scale public expos visited by 30,000 or more people. Smaller very recent gatherings have included an event for the Virtuoso luxury travel network, which saw one of the check-in halls decked out as a traditional Hong Kong marketplace.

2The check-in and baggage halls double as events spaces. Most popular, however, is the apron which offers panoramic harbour views, and has hosted a number of fun runs and other big public events.

“The auto shows have been fantastic because they’re all about design, and the makers can juxtapose their new cars with the beautiful building and panoramic views of Victoria Harbour,” explains Jeff Bent (left), Managing Director of Worldwide Cruise Terminals, which operates the USD 1 billion facility. “This is true for other products that include design elements, and we expect to host more of these shows in the future.”

Audi A8 launch

Banquets are also part of the operators’ strategy. Those such as a recent banquet for an Audi A8 launch are typically set in the two check-in halls which cover 3,000 square metres each. Also on site is a large Chinese banqueting facility that seats up to 960 people, says Jeff. “This has played host to a number of fantastic dinner events, like the Operation Breakthrough charity boxing match and dinner and a Rugby Sevens dinner. We hold weddings and corporate meetings in this facility ten to 20 times a month.”

Bus services currently run to local MTR (subway) stations, and a new Kai Tak station is scheduled to open in 2019 at the end of the old runway, which will further aggregate interest and attendances.  Ferry service from points around Hong Kong to the terminal is available on a charter basis. Meantime the government will auction a plot for a hotel with about 500 rooms directly adjacent to the cruise terminal later this year. Also planned is a sports stadium and water sports centre.

16585711034_ea1afb2451_o“The Kai Tak terminal truly is a unique venue, and Hong Kong is an outstanding location to hold events,” says Jeff.

“It provides visa-free access for approximately 170 countries and territories, terrific hotels and great air connectivity, with multiple daily direct flights to North America, Europe and around the world.”


More links with the mainland
Connectivity will expand further with the introduction of high-speed rail service to major cities in mainland China from 2017.  The terminal can also serve as an excellent platform from which to launch meetings and incentive travel via cruise ships, he adds.

“MICE is a very nice niche for Hong Kong. The [visitors] are generally affluent, educated people, and they often stay for leisure. Events bring in a lot of business travellers, and it’ll be great to add another niche to the mix of affluent leisure travellers.”

Big step for the cruise industry

Jeff believes the terminal represents a huge step forward for the cruise industry in the region, because cruise lines for years have indicated they would like to deploy more capacity in Asia; now they’re getting the facilities allowing them to do so.

Passenger numbers at Kai Tak are growing – from over 100,000 in 2014 to an expected total of over 200,000 in 2015 and more than 300,000 in 2016. Eight lines called at Kai Tak in 2014, ten are calling in 2015, and 17 have booked calls in 2016.

More and more local people are discovering the complex. Its five restaurants and shops opened last September, and its leafy rooftop parks get 4,000 visitors a day on weekends and holidays. It featured in two movies released over the Chinese New Year holiday, and will be in more forthcoming productions. And more recreational events are coming up over the summer, such as the ‘White Party,’ a major social event in Hong Kong.

Web: www.kaitakcruiseterminal.com.hk

Email: jbent@worldwideflight.com.hk








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