The European Travel Commission (ETC) announces the appointment of Franka Gulin, Director for China at the Croatian National Tourist Board as the new Chair of ETC’s China Chapter, eyes and ears of the association in the marketplace. In her new position, Gulin will be supported by Vice-Chairs David Wu from Visit Finland and Tiago Brito from Visit Portugal. The appointment of Gulin, Wu and Brito also coincides with the tenth anniversary of ETC‘s presence in China.
Together, the team will consolidate the activities of ETC in China, whose role is to leverage European destinations’ promotional activities by setting up effective platforms for cooperative marketing, access to market intelligence, exchange of best practices, cooperation and relationships between the Chinese and the European travel and tourism industry. In November, the Chairs will also participate in ITB China with whom ETC is strengthening ties as a Strategic Partner. This is one of many ETC’s efforts to prepare for the international recovery of travel and tourism as vaccination campaigns across Europe and the world are gathering pace.
Based in China since 2013, Franka Gulin spent the majority of her professional career in media communications, working as a freelancer in press, photojournalism and marketing related industries. Among others, she reported for the Croatian News Agency, Croatian Radio and Television and the China Media Group. In 2019 she was appointed as the first ever Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Representative Office in Shanghai. Since then, she has been working to build closer ties between the two countries and showcase Croatia’s unique tourism offer to both potential business partners and consumers from China and broader Asia. Gulin also held the position of ETC Vice-Chairwoman during the previous team’s term.
David Wu joined Visit Finland in 2013 and he is now heading Visit Finland Greater China team. Having worked in the industry for many years, he has a solid understanding of the Chinese outbound travel market. Wu graduated from the University of Utah with a master’s degree in Parks, Recreation & Tourism.
Tiago Brito is the Director of Visit Portugal´s team in China. He has extensive experience in business management in China, where he led a multinational company in Shanghai for over 5 years before re-joining the tourism industry. Tiago holds a BSc in Tourism Management and a postgraduate diploma in Business Administration.
Gulin said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the Chair of the European Travel Commission in China. Despite the current circumstances, the Chinese market remains of huge importance to all European destinations. Research shows that Europe remains top of mind among Chinese travellers when it comes to post-COVID international travel. Therefore, we believe now is the time to invest into deep market and customer behaviour research and actively prepare for the recovery of Chinese outbound travel”.
“China was at the front of international travel, and it is expected to gradually reclaim its position. The ETC China Chapter will do its best to monitor the market and identify challenges and opportunities to contribute to the strong positioning of Europe as a favourite travel destination for Chinese tourists”, she added.
Franka Gulin takes the mandate over from Zuzanna Gutkowska from Polish Tourism Organisation, who held the position for the last year and led ETC through the first post-COVID events to reconnect with the Chinese travel trade and create the foundation for the travel recovery.
China ranks second among all out-of-region outbound travel markets to European destinations. 15.4 million travellers from China arrived in Europe in 2019, accounting for a market share of 14,8% of all Chinese outbound travel. Despite the decline of Chinese outbound travel in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese arrivals to Europe are expected to recover an average of 39.5% per year through to 2025, awed by Europe’s diversity of experiences, its great transportation infrastructure, creative cities, spas and wellness destinations, its natural and cultural heritage and outstanding scenery.
 Source: ETC Quarterly Report 4/2021, Tourism Economics data