21 May 2012
HONG Kong-based Swire Travel will open a wholly-owned office in Shanghai this July, marking its second foray into China after Beijing.
According to industry sources, Swire Travel’s new Shanghai office will focus on the corporate travel segment, catering to its existing customer base with business dealings in the city. MICE capabilities will be developed at a later stage.
Jonathan Kao, general manager, Four Seas Travel Shanghai, played down the impact of Swire Travel’s entry, and highlighted the importance of providing China-centric solutions rather than adapting practices used in Hong Kong.
“(Swire Travel) are too small to make any difference. However, we welcome the competition, as it would increase the service quality of the overall industry (in Shanghai),” he said.
Meanwhile, Alcuin Li, general manager, Travel Expert Business Services Hong Kong, which opened its first Chinese office in Shenzhen two months ago, noted that the latest enhancement of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between Hong Kong and China had been a boon for cross-border tourism development.
“I believe more and more (Hong Kong) travel consultants will penetrate into China, and hope to see an ultimate (CEPA) relaxation for the whole Chinese outbound travel market. It would be an advantage to get in first and be ready when the good news is announced,” he said.