The major business opportunities available through the Chinese online travel platform “Alitrip” were presented to Greek tourism enterprises during an event in Athens on Friday.
A subsidiary of leading Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group, the Alitrip online travel marketplace was introduced to 50 leading Greek enterprises, including hotels and travel agencies. The event, titled “Alitrip in Greece: Enhancing incoming tourism from China to Greece”, was held by the Athens Chamber of Tradesmen and the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry and aimed to inform Greek entrepreneurs on the business advantages of signing up to the Chinese travel platform.
Speaking during the event, Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura said that the Alitrip platform could significantly contribute to the promotion of Greece’s thematic regional tourist products, making the country a main destination for Chinese holidaymakers that travel in Europe and internationally.
According to data presented during the event, Greece could attract one million tourists from China over the next three years considering that Alibaba’s data base consists of more than 500 million Chinese users and the Alitrip platform is among the leading tourism platforms in China. Measures to reach the goal of one million tourists from China, according to the Athens Chamber of Tradesmen, include an improved visa process, promotion of Greek tourism in China, the inclusion of the Chinese language on street signs and the launch of direct flights from China to Greece.
As noted during the presentation, China is currently the world’s largest exporter of international travel, with 120 million Chinese tourists currently traveling outside their country. This number is expected to reach 220 million by 2025.
“International tourism growth rate per year is estimated at three to four percent, while for China, the outbound tourism growth rate is estimated at 20 percent,” Alitrip’s vice president for EU markets, Kai Cui, said while presenting the platform.
Cui underlined that it is important for Greece to invest more in attracting Chinese tourists by breaking the language barrier, training executives and developing websites and publishing promotional material in Chinese.
Alibaba Group Marketing Manager Albert Antonini Mangia said that by 2025, over 20 million Chinese nationals are expected travel to European countries.
On his part, Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Konstantinos Michalos noted that the activation of Alitrip in Greece could become the catalyst for boosting tourist traffic from China to the country.
Moreover, the chamber’s president added that the adoption of the “Alipay” Chinese payment system will further facilitate Chinese travellers when visiting Greece. The Tourism Ministry is currently working with the Ministry of Economy and Development to promote the Alipay platform in Greece. The Alipay system will be available from the beginning of July in Greek stores.
Chinese travellers were the biggest spenders in the world last year. According to data, Chinese travellers spent $261 billion in 2016, followed by the Americans that spent $122 billion and the Germans that spent $81 billion.
Founded in 1999, Alibaba is a Chinese e-commerce company active in consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales services via web portals. In 2014 Alibaba launched the Alitrip OTA which focused on the outbound tourism market. In late 2016 Alitrip was renamed to “Fliggy” (or “Fei Zhu”, flying pig). Positioned as a leisure travel brand, Fliggy cooperates with European countries, has over 200 million members and more than 10 million daily visitors.