The trade mission has set as its goal to seek viable opportunities to grow trade relations between the Virgin Islands and China.
Thursday’s meetings included Air China, the opening meeting for the mission, followed by meetings with the United States Ambassador to China Max Baucus.
Mapp said that he met with Air China officials to discuss opportunities that are available to expand Chinese tourism to the United States Virgin Islands through private partnerships and promotional programs with Chinese partners.
According to a recent report from consultancies Fung Business Intelligence Center and China Luxury Advisors, China’s outbound traveler numbers are still growing and are poised to double by 2020 to 234 million passengers, from more than 100 million in 2014.
China produced 109 million outbound tourists in 2015 – with retail spending of US$229 billion dollars.
Representatives from Air China, which was established in 1988 and transports over 51 million passengers annually, included Vice Chairman Jia Tiesheng, Managing Director of Marketing Rever He and Director of Air China Network and Revenue Department Liu Peng.
Talks were held at the Air China Headquarters Building in Beijing, China. Mapp and Department of Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty were also among the delegation and focused on attributes of the U.S. Virgin Islands that would be appealing to the Air China destination traveler and options for including the Virgin Islands in its U.S. routes after presenting each Air China executive with a V.I. gift bag.
The group also collaborated on identifying the interest of the Chinese traveler and how best they can be made aware of the Virgin Islands as an option when it comes to choosing a vacation destination. Within the Chinese travel market, the Millennials are less price sensitive and seeking more experience based vacation travel which makes them an interesting fit for the V.I.
The delegations second meeting was with the United States Ambassador to China, Max Baucus. Ambassador Baucus has long established experience in building trade relations and was joined by Minister for Commercial Affairs, Sarah Kemp who has been serving at the embassy for the last two years.
Deputy Chief Economic Section, Jay Kimmel and Commercial Officer of International Trade Administration, Mr. Jay Biggs also met to discuss expanding Chinese tourism to the US Virgin Islands through private partnerships and promotional programs with Chinese partners along with other economic opportunities.
Meetings will continue through Friday in Beijing with ArchLight and Sinopec. The delegates will then travel to Ningbo and Shanghai for additional meeting and facility tours.