Thomas Cook China, the joint venture between Thomas Cook and Fosun, the leading Chinese investment conglomerate, plans to increase customer numbers by more than ten times over the next year.
Speaking at the 2017 FVW Congress in Cologne, Germany, Thomas Cook China managing director Alessandro Dassi said that the company will have served 20,000 customers by the end of September and there was now real momentum in the business.
“In our first year since launch, Thomas Cook China will have looked after 20,000 customers.
“Over the next 12 months, we plan to grow this number by more than ten times,” said Dassi.
“We have the full commitment of Fosun and Thomas Cook to support the future growth of the business.
“The ambition is to make China a sizeable market for Thomas Cook Group, comparable, over time, with our more mature source markets in Europe.”
Officially launched in September 2016, Thomas Cook China has developed into a one-stop, full-service travel company, operating inbound, domestic and outbound tourism from offices in Shanghai and Beijing.
While the China travel market is large and fast growing, and represents the world’s largest source of outbound visitors, it is also very competitive and fragmented.
Dassi said: “There is already huge choice in the market for the Chinese leisure travellers, and a great focus on price.”
One of the biggest opportunities for newcomers such as Thomas Cook comes from the rapid change in the behaviour of Chinese travellers, as they move away from traditional group tour travel towards a more independent and higher quality type of travel.
Dassi added: “The industry is not yet keeping up with the pace of change in the behaviour of Chinese consumers.
“To exploit this gap we have focused on developing products that are truly unique and differentiated, leveraging Thomas Cook’s resources across key tourist destinations.”
The FVW Congress is an annual conference organized by FVW, the leading tourism trade magazine in Germany.