Italy and China have always been united by a special bond, right from when Marco Polo, and later the missionary and scholar Matteo Ricci, were the first two westerners to stay in the Celestial Empire.
A relationship continuing to this day and which Bit – Borsa Internazionale del Turismo – wanted to celebrate by nominating China as Guest Country for the 2013 edition to be held in Milan at Rho from Thursday, February 14 to Sunday, February 17, 2013.
“Choosing China as the Guest Country at Bit 2013,” commented Marco Serioli, the Manager of Fiera Milano Exhibitions Division, “is in token of a historic cultural relationship, now succeeding in transforming itself into business relationships as well, especially in a sector such as tourism, its very essence being exactly reciprocal transactions between differing countries. China is now one of the world’s first destinations, and by 2020, it will become the first outgoing market. The Bit and Fiera Milano internationalization strategy, particularly focused on emerging markets, is keen to promptly address this trend, with a view to collaboration, creating opportunities for both institutions and sector players.”
Fortunately there is no need to have the adventurous spirit of Marco Polo to visit China nowadays: it is sufficient to be good travelers. China in fact became the world’s third touring destination in 2010, with about 56 million visitors, on an average increasing by +9% (UNWTO [UN World Tourism Organization] data). The first things that foreign visitors want to see are the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army at Xi’an, and the Forbidden City in Beijing. But Italians are also very keen on the Silk Way, treading in the Venetian explorer’s footsteps.
Italian visitors in China registered record numbers with about 240,000 in 2011. Fellow countrymen visit the Asiatic giant above all for business, but leisure trips are also on the upward trend. The Italians not only like the classical destinations but also Canton and Shanghai. The typical package is for 9 days and 7 nights, but 15- to 20-day stays to visit the inland parts are likewise on the upturn (Source CNTA – China National Tourism Administration).
On their part, the Chinese have a great desire to see Europe, in particular Italy, as they are full of admiration for its lifestyle. China will be the world’s first outbound market by 2020, according to UNWTO, with over 100 million tourists. Last May, Italy was the destination for the greatest bonus-journey ever organized in China: as many as 2,800 managers, whose company – a great producer of consumer goods – asked them to vote their preference, chose Italy, where they visited various central-northern localities in a mix of art and shopping: each one having spent an average of 4,000 euro on “Made in Italy” must products. Chinese travelers to Italy increased by +130% in 2011, adding up to over 230,000 visas issued by the embassy.
China will enjoy special visibility as Guest Country during the exhibition, through all the official communication tools and with a series of events including informative meetings on destination China in the “Destination Room” meeting room.
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