Tourism Leaders Hold China Workshop to Increase Chinese Visitors to Boston & Massachusetts

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Pictured: from left, Francois Nivaud, Brad Rice, Sharon Xu, Pat Moscaritolo and David O’Donnell

Chinese visitors coming to Boston and Massachusetts continue to break records for visitation numbers and spending, according to the China 3.0 Workshop held at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston on Tuesday, January 15, 2019.

Organized by the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB), Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT), Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), American Express and other travel and hospitality partners, the Workshop attracted 125 participants who came to learn ways to tap into the lucrative Chinese inbound market. In 2017, 301,000 Chinese visitors came to Boston, a 153% increase over the past 5 years.

GBCVB President & CEO Pat Moscaritolo and China-Friendly Marketing Committee Chair Brad Rice singled out three individuals who have driven the China initiative and its record-breaking results: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Executive Director Francois Nivaud, GBCVB Senior Manager of Media Relations David O’Donnell, and GBCVB Chinese Marketing Manager Sharon Xu. “A destination does not have this kind of success by accident,” said Moscaritolo.

Massport Director of Aviation Ed Freni gave an update on the expansion and upgrades taking place at Boston Logan International Airport to meet the growing demand from domestic and international visitors in the coming years.

MOTT’s Francois Nivaud spoke about his agency’s efforts to attract visitors, including cooperative marketing campaigns, sales missions & training events, and familiarization visitors from Chinese tour operators and media.

At the China 3.0 workshop, multiple presenters referenced 2018 data that shows continued growth for Boston even as inbound numbers from China have slowed across the nation. Scott Johnson reported that Boston’s market share is on the rise and that this will result in even more impressive numbers from China to Boston in 2018 and 2019. Carla Cabrera, Hainan Airlines’ Director of Sales for North America, revealed that Boston is now Hainan’s most successful route in North America, eclipsing Seattle in 2018. And Expedia Senior Market Manager for Boston, Alex Fromson, shared robust results from a recent holiday booking campaign that Expedia and the GBCVB collaborated on.

Tourism leaders are optimistic that Chinese numbers will continue to grow. “In addition to the robust leisure market that attracts visitors from around the world, Massachusetts excels in education, sports, conventions and business opportunities, and these sectors offer growth potential in the Chinese market,” said Nivaud.

“The goal for Boston, going forward, is 400,000 Chinese visitors by 2020,” said Moscaritolo. “We are confident we can get there because our China initiative, led by our China Marketing Committee team, will continue to engage this market and execute strategies to generate more business from China for Boston and for our member companies.”