BOSTON (CBS) – Boston is making big plans to attract more visitors from China. The goal is to double the number to 500,000 in the beginning of the next decade.
To make this happen, more partnerships between the public and private sectors are needed. That was the theme of the “China Friendly Seminar & Workshop“ held Friday at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, organized by The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
In addition to the hotel, the sponsors included: American Express, Massport, The Mass. Office of Travel & Tourism and Macy’s Department Stores.
Massport CEO Tom Glynn was the moderator of the luncheon that brought Philippe Lacamp, Senior Vice President, Americas, Cathay Pacific Airways and Pubin Liang, Managing Director North America, Hainan Airlines to Boston to discuss their operations in the U.S. and Logan Airport.
Hainan has flights to Beijing and Shanghai; and Cathay Pacific has service to Hong Kong.
Cathay started last year with four flights a week and has announced that starting in March, they will have daily service from Boston.
“Our launch in Boston was the most successful of any in the America’s.” said Lacamp. “The combination of history, business and students here from China gives us tremendous potential.”
China is the fastest growing international destination at Logan Airport. The number of visitors has grown from 105,000 persons in 2013 to 208,000 in 2015.
Friday’s workshop was the first of its kind and attracted over 200 people to the day’s activities.
Sheraton Boston Hotel GM Angela Vento moderated the morning panel. It included: Daniel Andrew, Co-Founder & CEO, Trademark Tours; Doug Hall, Director of Group Sales, Boston Harbor Cruises; Keri Hanson, National Director, Tourism marketing, Macy’s; Andi Simpson, Vice President Marketing, Federal Realty and Charlie York, Director of Rooms, Sheraton Boston Hotel.
The panel indicated that the Chinese visitor has money to spend, was interested in history, shopping and good service. Media, menus and hotel signs are now common in Chinese at Boston hotels and attractions.
Figures presented by Travel Market Insights for the Boston market indicated that over 50 percent of Chinese visitors came to Massachusetts by air, 30 percent by motor coach and 15 percent by Amtrak.
The highlight of the day was the Chinese luncheon served on turning circular wooden buffets on every table that featured lobster fried rice, beef with Chinese broccoli, shrimp with sweet chili sauce, among other the dishes.
An afternoon social media session featured a digital marketing workshop for reaching the Chinese market by the Mailman Group and Lobs Boston.
“All Things Travel” reports with Bob Weiss can be heard on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.