President of China Leisure Association discusses China’s post-Covid tourism revival

The tourism industry was one of the leading markets, until the pandemic shocked the world in the first trimester of 2020. Flights cancelled, hotels closed, the restrictions and isolation measures implemented to fight against the virus have caused tourism to be the most affected sector of the world’s economy. Not only the possible scenarios are dominated by uncertainty, but the tourism-related businesses now are called upon to face new challenges and adapt to a new reality.  

Wei Xiao An, General Advisor of Golden Keys China and President of China Leisure Association, shares his thoughts on the tourism industry’s post-pandemic “new normal”. 

To forge a new tourism model, we need to rethink the scope of tourism, tap pre-industrial resources, and produce super-industrial products in a post-industrial perspective, to respond to a changing market. 

The scope of tourism functions covers the primary, secondary and tertiary industries, where innovation lies in diversifying and creating new possibilities in culture, ecology, entertainment, sport, agriculture, fishery, and other industries. Although the relationship between these industries with our businesses in tourist attractions, travel agencies, and hotels seem distant, they are closely related. 

The so-called ‘big tourism’ is about developing a series of such new industries; traditional industries have revived to open up new areas of development, creating new business opportunities and maximizing the function of tourism. 

1) Refine the industrial system

For instance, business travels require the integration of ten different scopes instead of focusing exclusively on the accommodation; the key is to redefine industry boundaries by shifting the focus from individual products to cross-industry synergies to achieve a seamless system.   

2) Extend the industrial chain

Extend the industrial chain from the upstream and downstream of our traditional tourism industry.  

3) Expand the scope 

Expand the scope and facilitate cross-sector horizontal development by cultivating the new industries mentioned above; 

4) Build an ‘industry cluster’

Not only should we analyze the direct demand in tourism, but also correspond to the intermediate and derived demand.  

For instance, in China, there are now over 500 ski resorts in which most equipment is imported. Things are quite different regarding the leisure industry, where the derivative industries are well-developed in China, such as clothing, food, and all kinds of leisure and entertainment appliances, are produced domestically and exported throughout the world, setting the basis to create an industry cluster.  

There are three fundamental aspects to face the ‘new normal’: first, reflect on the past to fill shortcomings; second, strive for innovation. Be creative and advocate creative thinking amongst your employees to research and develop new products; third, preserve the industry’s best talents to equip them for the future. 

While all these points have given the industry food for thought, as Wei states, tourism is now in deadlock and thirsty for new ideas. The rise of the new model has provided fertile ground for an innovative, diversified, smart, and dynamic cross-industry alliance like GKIA to leverage its strengths and plan proactively to achieve new heights after the pandemic.