Joint Venture

Two companies merge to offer more

By: J.L. Erickson

As regional travel demand continues to surge, one of China’s top travel companies and a top U.S. air consolidator have formed a joint venture designed to boost offerings. Leveraging the companies’ resources, China Travel Service Group (Holdings) Hong Kong Ltd. and U.S. consolidator Pacific Travel & Trade Corp. have joined together to create the U.S. China Travel Service Inc. the U.S. subsidiary of China Travel Service Group in an effort to increase inbound and outbound tours, business travel and corporate events.

The move comes as the World Travel & Tourism Council projects China will be the second-fastest country in travel growth this year, generating $353.7 billion with a 10-year annualized growth rate of 8.7 percent. Spending by inbound international visitors is expected to hit $75.1 billion.

“The joint-venture company will utilize each others’ resources to strengthen not only its marketing efforts but also its products and operations. Our travel agent partners will get more support in various aspects,” said Yimei Guo, general manager of China Travel Service Group and the new joint venture.

Guo said the partnership intends to expand its relations with travel agents, and to mark the new venture, has created some joint-venture specials from June through October, including an eight-day/six-night Golden China Tour priced at $999 from major West Coast cities. The tour covers Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai, and five nights can be chosen in any combination of two cities from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Founded in 1928, China Travel Service Group was the first Chinese-owned travel business in China and now has dozens of offices in 14 countries and throughout major cities on the Chinese mainland. Its U.S. subsidiary, U.S. China Travel Service has been operating for over 20 years in the U.S. market as a China specialist.

“[China Travel Service Group Hong Kong] has a wide network of over 80 offices in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. These office locations will not only serve as our brand-name land operators providing services to our U.S. customers but also as our widely stretched sales forces in those places tapping the Chinese outbound market to the U.S.,” said Guo.

According to the China National Tourism Admin-istration, more than 1.5 million U.S. travelers visited China last year, the largest long-haul tourist source country for China.

“The market is changing and more and more people do not seek low prices anymore but family intimacy and the quality of their trips,” she said. “As a China specialist, it is our advantage in customizing and creating all kind of tours for our U.S. agent customers to meet their clientele needs.”

While visa issues remain on Chinese travel to the U.S., the governments took a step toward easing restrictions last year, signing a memorandum of understanding toward designating the U.S. as an official tourist destination for mainland Chinese travelers.

Apart from leisure travel, U.S. China Travel Service is the only travel company appointed by both the Canton Trade Fair and Shanghai Trade Fair in making travel arrangements, hotel reservations with blocked rooms and admission-ticket arrangements in the U.S.

Wilson Wong, CEO of Pacific Air Travel, who will also serve as deputy general manager of the joint venture, said the venture expects to create more trade fair packages for agent clients.

Meanwhile, Christina Liadis will remain as U.S. China Travel Service’s outbound manager with Sam Dong as inbound manager. Cindy Fang has been chosen as manager to tap the MICE market.


China Travel Service Inc.

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