AsiaTravel’s CEO Albert Ng spoke on November 12th, 2008 at the World Travel Market in London as part of the China Contact Future of Travel forum. An expert on China inbound tourism, Albert discussed the diverse possibilities for visitors to China outside of the most-visited sites. While attractions like the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors and the Bund in Shanghai are must-sees for the first-time visitor to China, there are a wealth of world-class attractions that go largely unvisited. Overall, while the travel market in China is slowly segmenting into offerings for a diverse array of clientele, the standard mass tourism mindset still prevails.
According to the World Tourism Organization, China is expected to attract 100 million tourists by the year 2020. This poses an interesting dilemma for sites that are often already packed to capacity. 85% of foreign visitors to China spend their time in only 20% of China’s landmass, and the market is dominated by cookie-cutter, mass-tourism experiences. AsiaTravel, under the leadership of Albert Ng, has worked to expand China travel to more remote, off-the-beaten path areas, offering guests a highly distinctive experience. For example, AsiaTravel has had great success in pioneering a trip to the grasslands of Qinghai for the July Yushu Horse Festival. During this annual event, AsiaTravel’s guests sleep at night in custom-built tents under the stars of the remote Tibetan Plateau, and during the day take part in the traditional horse-racing festivities.