Chinese OTA giant Ctrip and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines last week entered into a strategic cooperation agreement to further develop China-Europe flight routes, in a signing ceremony presided by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Netherlands prime minister Mark Rutte.
The agreement marked a milestone and deepening of cooperation in the civil aviation industry for the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year, with several new flight routes recently beginning operation.
Pieter Elbers, president and CEO of KLM, said: “With so many complementary areas across our businesses and supply chains, the partnership with Ctrip has the potential to help us realise significant innovations in areas including customer service, data operations, flight route development and product marketing. This will help to solidify and grow the Netherlands’ position as the ‘Gateway to Europe’ for Chinese travellers and enterprises.”
CEO of Ctrip Jane Sun added: “With the great opportunities presented by the EU-China Tourism Year, Ctrip will help more Chinese tourists travel to Europe, broadening horizons and benefiting business partners in the region. We hope Chinese tourists can become a bridge promoting trade cooperation, cultural exchange and people-to-people diplomacy between China and Europe.”
Through the partnership, Ctrip is expected to leverage its large customer base to help foreign airlines develop innovative membership service systems, and to provide passengers with more abundant and distinctive travel products.
Ctrip’s new travel trend report shows that Europe is increasingly a popular destination for Chinese tourists. In 2017, the number of Chinese outbound tourists to Europe ranked second among all continents, increasing 26.3 per cent compared with 2016. Average travel spending per person also increased by 36 per cent year-on-year.