After suffering from the inconvenience involved in eating, finding accommodation and traveling during the past May Holiday and the National Holiday, people are changing their views on travel. One of the most prominent changes is that they no longer give much attention to the services provided by traditional travel agencies; instead, they intend to choose a kind of one-card service that combines eating, boarding, traveling and entertainment. According to some reports, the number of people investing in the nation’s most influential travel-oriented consumption card, or E-long card, has reached five million.
According to some predictions, by the year 2015, China’s tourism industry will enter its highest stage of development, namely the long distance travel stage. At that time, international tourism is expected to earn US$50-60 billion in foreign currency per year, and domestic tourism income will top 1,000 billion yuan (US$120.7 billion).
However, facing the huge challenge caused by the rule of “survival of the fittest” in the world’s tourism market, a higher demand is being imposed on the tourism industry. These higher demands include how to realize the popularity of tourism consumption, creating the ideal development mode, success in developing series products, the variety of styles in tourism promotion, the need for high-quality technical equipment and so on. As for the traditional travel agencies, if they are not going to improve their backward service techniques or their low-efficient information management, then they are destined to lose out in the fierce competition.
Since the latter part of 1999, the fast growth in Internet development in China has provided new opportunities for China’s tourism industry in terms of high-efficient use of information integration. Several websites appeared, such as China Tourism Net and China Holiday Net, focusing on providing tourists with necessary travel information, ticket booking or hotel reservation services. All kinds of room-reservation centers on the Internet have appeared, and even the traditional travel agencies are expecting that several computers or several telephones in their office will bring more opportunities to their business.
Nevertheless, single service and those services that lag behind the competition cannot hope to contribute to the success of China’s tourism industry. The low entry requirement and huge development potential has helped it attract a large amount of investment; at the same time, the current fierce price competition has created many irregularities. So far, there still isn’t any commercial tourism corporation able to go beyond all the competition and take the lead in this industry.
To meet the market’s demand with various kinds of services is actually the key to final success. Consumers’ demands are no longer just concentrated on hotel room reservation or price-discounting strategies involved in ticket booking services; the added consumption resulting from these services is also a focus of attention. Today, prospective visitors all hope to go traveling simply by sending out a series of e-booking requirements via the computer, or by simply dialing booking hotlines. In this climate, a travel-oriented consumption card has chosen the best time to emerge.
One of the most striking characteristics for this travel-oriented consumption card is that it provides a good combination of business-purpose traveling, travel consumption and leisure. For instance, if you have an e-long travel-oriented consumption card, you can enjoy discounts in room reservation in thousands of hotels of more than 120 cities across the whole nation; 70-90% discount services covering cuisine, entertainment, health-improvement and purchasing in more than ten metropolises including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are also available. It is this unique function that makes other travel cards envious.
According to concerned personnel, such a consumption card is able to meet the whole process of business-travel or an entertainment-oriented journey due to its versatile nature, covering eating, accommodation, travel, shopping, entertainment, and even online-payment services. And this kind of personalized service is destined to be favored by more and more consumers in the near future.
(china.org.cn by Feng Shu, July 8, 2002)