While there has been much focus by CHINA READY in preparing westerners how to welcome and respectfully engage with Chinese travelers to western destinations, the China Travel Specialist Program has been designed to create better understanding and appreciation for westerners visiting China.
“There are now almost 100 million Chinese people traveling outside China each year, but less than 30 million Westerners coming for visits into China, thus creating a significant imbalance,” stated Mr Shao Qiwei, Chairman CNTA at a recent forum in China.
Developed in conjunction with CNTA, the China Travel Specialist Program equips travel agents with an understanding of the China travel and tourism industry and provides specialised training focused on cultural sensitivities, regional difference, business and personal protocols together with a broad understanding and awareness of the cultural differences between China and the West.
The Program is the brainchild of Dr. Lin Kuang, CNTA Director for Australia and New Zealand. CHINA READY, in conjunction with CNTA and the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), selected 20 of Australia and New Zealand’s top wholesale and retail travel agents to participate in the inaugural Program. These included global giants such as American Express and Flight Centre, along with STA, Jetset, Travelscene, and longstanding China specialist agents such as Helen Wong and Wendy Wu.
Helen Wong was honoured as the first accredited China Travel Specialist agent in recognition of the long and outstanding commitment she has shown to the growth of travel to China. Amongst many outstanding achievements, Helen Wong’s World Trade Travel has been Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration’s major partner in Australia for many years.
Mr Jason Westbury, CEO AFTA said “This is a great initiative to help travel agents gain a better appreciation of the delights of China. CNTA has been promoting the tag line “Beyond Your Imagination” and I can assure you as somebody who has been lucky to visit China on several occasions that it truly is a country beyond your imagination!”
The Program was delivered with assistance from Ms Kathy Zhang, Manager China Eastern Airlines (Pacific), Mr. Arthur Li, UnionPay International (South Pacific) and Mr. Michael Zhang, Bank of China (Australia).
At the official accreditation ceremony, Mr Glenn Jarvis of The Travellers Hut thanked CNTA and CHINA READY on behalf of the participants, “We have learned so much. You have opened all our eyes to things we never knew. I am speaking for everyone when I say we all wish this wonderful learning experience could go on and on. Thank you China Ready & Accredited for the engaging and entertaining delivery and thank you CNTA for such a wonderful initiative. We will all be working hard now to encourage as many people as we can to visit and experience the wonders of China”, he said.