The World Bridge Tourism (WBT) initiative was implemented jointly by ETC and ETOA with the aim of increasing the flow of visitors from China to the European Union (EU). The WBT comprised two major events, one in China and one in Europe. The first event took place in Shanghai in conjunction with ITB China (May 2017) and the second took place in London in conjunction with the Global European Marketplace (GEM) (November 2017).
Both WBT events combined a conference and a B2B workshop between European destinations, SMEs (suppliers) and Chinese operators (buyers). The primary purpose of the conference was to share knowledge and experiences by key market players on how to cater for the needs of the Chinese travelers, as well as to improve awareness about EU actions at the horizontal level. The B2B matchmaking workshops were specifically designed for small and medium tourism operators. Over 11,000 appointments between European companies and Chinese buyers were assigned over the course of the two B2B matchmaking events.
As a valuable add-on, ETC organised a series of familiarization trips for Chinese tour operators (see video below) that participated in the WBT event in London, on order to extend their knowledge of Europe as a communal entity of inter-connected countries. The FAM trips took place in October 2017 before WBT London.
The WBT project was supported by the EU and featured an extensive programme of research and webinars aimed at increasing the understanding of the needs of Chinese visitors within the European tourism community.