iTraveller makes its presence felt at the 4th Global Travel eCommerce Conference (GTEC) at Sichuan, China, an event that hosted global achievers leveraging technology in online travel space. iTraveller was invited to the ‘Fast Track’ event at GTEC, organised by Phocuswright, featuring keynote interviews, executive panels and research presentations. Shiju Radhakrishnan, CEO, iTraveller.com, was one of the panellists at ‘Travel Tech Talk’, which explored the different ways in which innovations are changing the way consumers search, shop and buy travel. The ‘Fast Track’ session delved into the latest consumer and technology trends driving the market. Phocuswright (US), a travel industry research authority delivering qualitative and quantitative research on the dynamics that influence travel, tourism and hospitality distribution, was one of the key organisers of GTEC.
The GTEC focuses on the travel industry in China and its evolution. The 2015 GTEC theme was “Internet Plus” – embracing technology to offer a seamless distribution and customer experience. Drawing inspiration from its location, in the Mt Qingcheng in Sichuan (the birthplace of Taoism), GTEC adopts the Taoist philosophy of applying simplicity to achieve greater wisdom and success.
The Conference was hosted by the People’s Government of Chengdu, Sichuan Tourism Board and organised by The People’s Government of Dujiangyan, Chengdu Tourism Bureau, Sichuan Tourism Information Center. The lineup of delegates included: Hao Kangli, Director General, Tourism Administration of Sichuan; Donald Yu, CEO, Tuniu.com; Yuan Shijun, Director of Marketing Cooperation, Tourism Administration of Sichuan Province; Ming Liao, Head of Marketing Science, Facebook, APAC; He WeiKai, Mayor of Dujiangyan Municipal Government & Deputy Secretary of CPC Dujiangyan Municipal Committee; Wang Cong, Director of Publicity Department of CPC Dujiangyan Committee; Wang Min, Deputy Mayor, Dujiangyan Municipal People’s Government; Tony Chen, Chief Digital Evangelist, Google, China; Simon Hauswirth, Senior Vice President, Kuoni; and Robert Zhang, CEO, AmazingChina.com.
On the GTEC experience
It was a fascinating experience at GTEC. We had several interactive sessions with the who’s who of Asian travel market, ranging from OTAs to startups across geographies. Listening to and interacting with some of the prominent leaders from the Chinese government in person was a unique experience of its kind. A series of meetings were organised with key tourism players, ministers and bureaucrats, representing the industry in the country.
Fam-trips were arranged to some of the exotic attractions of Sichuan to get acquainted with the grassroots of the tourism landscape in China. The most remarkable one was a visit to the 2000-year-old Chengdu irrigation system, developed by Li Ping, which divides Chengdu River into two parts. In fact, Chengdu is the world’s oldest natural irrigation system.
Takeaways for iTraveller
I would say the conference helped iTraveller in the following ways:
- Understanding the nuances of holiday planning markets of China and South East Asia
- Identifying and forging relations with some of the major players in the space
- Getting in sync with the technological trends in the industry