The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has kicked off its first ASTA China Summit.
The event began Sunday, November 5, with a pre-fam in Guizhou before kicking off in earnest with a welcome dinner and special presentation from Guizhou the evening of November 8. In addition to acting as a destination expo, attendees will get the chance to take part in cultural immersion experiences and develop relationships with suppliers in Guizhou.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce National Travel and Tourism office, the Chinese travel market accounts for 29 percent of the market share by trips within the Asia region for American travelers, ASTA said. China and the U.S have the two largest tourism economies in the world.
Additionally, ASTA’s research study, How America Travels, indicates that 38 percent of American travelers wish to “see natural sights” as an important reason for leisure travel, and another 34 percent of American travelers to “see historic sights” when they vacation. American travelers want more unique, off the path, experiences.
The percentage share of ASTA members agencies’ international sales has been steadily climbing since early 2000s, coinciding with Americans traveling overseas (outside North America) increasingly for the past five years, ASTA said. Tours and packages continue to account for a large percentage of travel agency sales, which is why it is so important for ASTA travel agents to have cultural and destination immersion experiences that allow them the ability to create bespoke tours and packages to sell to their clients.
In fact, according to ASTA research, over half of Millennial travelers (55%) book travel packages. Through the ASTA China Summit, travel agents will learn how to create custom tour packages for prospective clients in the destination. The event will also showcase China’s unique cuisine, cultures and nature.