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#iDiscoverChina

China through the eyes of an Italian tourism expert

By Weiwei Guan

September 14

You might not agree, but this man from Italy knows Chinese tourism better than you or I.

You might not agree, but this man from Italy knows Chinese tourism better than you or I.

Photo taken in November, 2010 shows Dr. Corrado Politi attending the Long Street Banquet in Honghe Prefecture in Yunnan Province. [Photo provided by Huang Linwu]
Photo taken in November, 2010 shows Dr. Corrado Politi attending the Long Street Banquet in Honghe Prefecture in Yunnan Province. [Photo provided by Huang Linwu]
Dr. Corrado Politi, one of the most energetic individuals I have met, had already completed a breakfast talk at the Embassy of Italy in Beijing before meeting with me.

As the executive director of the European Center of Berlin and a European Training Foundation directorate member, Dr. Politi has roughly 15 years working on marketing promotion and tourism cooperation between Asian and European countries. He has also been an international advisor for China Tourism Academy since 2008.

Photo taken in Dec.18, 2014 shows Dr. Corrado Politi attending the event celebrating the first intercontinental airline from Kunming to Paris. [Photo provided by Huang Linwu]
Photo taken on Dec.18, 2014 shows Dr. Corrado Politi attending the event celebrating the first intercontinental airline from Kunming to Paris. [Photo provided by Huang Linwu]

Behind the story with Yunnan

Dr. Politi first visited Yunnan in 2010 and fell in love with the place. He even filled his suitcase with tourism pamphlets before leaving. He returned numerous times as an international marketing advisor for the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration, attended the opening celebrating for the first intercontinental airline from Kunming to Paris in 2014, and went to Yunnan Day at the Milan Expo in 2015.

“China is a country with diversity, and Yunnan is a concentration of that diversity,” he said. The various landscapes, bearing similarities to his hometown in Italy, attracted him. As a gastronome, he expressed his appreciation of Yunnan cuisine, its many means of preparation and diversity of ingredients. He particularly enjoys sitting at a table and experiencing different dishes with other people.

Photo taken in November, 2010 shows Dr. Corrado Politi attending the Long Street Banquet in Honghe Prefecture in Yunnan Province. [Photo provided by Huang Linwu]
Photo taken in November, 2010 shows Dr. Corrado Politi attending the Long Street Banquet in Honghe Prefecture in Yunnan Province. [Photo provided by Huang Linwu]

Impressed by China’s rapid development

Dr. Politi regards first solo trek in 1984 along the Silk Road, from Beijing to Urumqi, as one of the big adventures of his life. The tall skyscrapers that have sprung up around China in recent years since that trip impress him, and he has praised the efforts of the government to protect the environment and begin charting a path of sustainable development. He was also astonished by the development of villages in China, saying he never saw anything of the same scale in his country.

“I was surprised to see that in a compound of a town called Taiping in Yunnan Province, there are 3906 flats, each with solar energy on the roof and enjoy 24-hour hot water supply.” He added that China has developed its economy in a clean and efficient way.

Dr. Politi is optimistic about some of the existing problems in China’s tourism sector, such as the misbehavior of Chinese tourists. He believes most are cultivated and respectful, but cultural differences sometimes cause problems — the reason why we need to build bridges to better foster understanding. “The overall Chinese image will not be changed,” he added.

Photo taken on September 3, 2016 shows Dr. Corrado Politi at the China National Convention Center Grand Hotel. [Photo: China.org.cn]
Photo taken on Sept. 3, 2016 shows Dr. Corrado Politi at the China National Convention Center Grand Hotel. [Photo: China.org.cn]

“A good idea is like a butterfly”

“If you want more tourists to come to China, make it easy for them.” Dr. Politi provided his insights on Chinese tourism.

1. OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2016 development program suggests simplifying visa and entry processes to improve the competiveness of destinations as places to visit and to do business, along with allowing driving licenses. Many European tourists prefer driving with their families rather than traveling with a group.

2. Make special policies for the retired. Compared with younger people, they have more spare time and money to enjoy different cultures. They may prefer to rent a house and live there for a few months.

3. China needs more market-oriented tourism products, improved tourism services, and should develop a unique image to attract world tourists. Some suggestions are tourism apps in English and niche-interest tours: agri-tourism, cultural tourism and shopping tourism. Dr. Politi is now working on an EU-China Urbanization Partnership on resource-efficient urban agriculture.

4. Promoting cross-border tourism cooperation. Since China and other ASEAN countries have the benefit of many historic relics and world heritage sites, along with similar protection needs, cross-border cooperation among the ASEAN countries can tap the region’s full potential.

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