Choose Chicago, Chicago’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, invited GMS to take part in the bureau’s inaugural sales mission to Asia.
Acknowledging the significance of this emerging market, GMS seized the opportunity to take part in the sales mission to China, that took place from January 27 to February 4, 2013, with the hope of encouraging more travel to Chicago through stronger partnerships with key operators in the region.
“This sales mission provides an unprecedented opportunity for GMS to be among the first businesses to leverage those relationships,” GMS CEO Hanson Ansary said in an interview. GMS will be joining Choose Chicago on their very first sales mission to China—a trip that coincides with the world-famous Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Asian tour.
China is the fastest-growing travel market on the planet. Last year, Chicago and Illinois welcomed about 107,000 visitors from the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong. Our guests from the East stayed an average of eight nights. (Eight just happens to be considered a very lucky number in China.) They spent nearly $6,000 per person, which produced an economic impact of about $642 million.
An impressive 35% of those Chinese tourists were visiting the United States for the first time. This statistic represents a significant opportunity for GMS to assist this rapidly developing segment of Chinese outbound travelers. Even with its excellent representation in China and Asia at large, GMS recognizes the importance of establishing more direct relationships in the region.
Asked about Asia’s growing needs for U.S.-based destination management services, Ansary said, “We are increasingly shifting our business focus to Asia, where we see tremendous opportunities for our industry and our company. Many of our clients are coming from Asia, and their preferred destination for many of their upcoming incentive programs and corporate meetings is Chicago.”