Global OTA Trip.com Group is looking to expand its partner network as the travel industry benefits from sustainable long-term growth.
The China-based travel giant hosted more than 2,000 suppliers in Singapore last week at its first ever overseas global partner summit.
James Liang, co-founder and chairman, explained why the unique nature of travel means delegates can expect sustained long-term growth.
Liang set out how travel satisfies people’s psychological, economic and philosophical needs as they explore the planet and experience new cultures and meet different people.
He said although travel is, and will increasingly be seen, as a luxury as technology bring costs down in other sectors and improves wealth, it will always be desirable.
This is because it satisfies self-actualisation, the highest of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which refers self-actualisation; the realisation of a person’s potential, self-fulfillment, personal growth, and peak experiences.
“Psychologically, it fulfils a high level of need which is not easily saturated. In economic terms, it is a long-term, high-growth industry,” Liang told delegates in Singapore last week.
“At the social level, it promotes human understanding, enhances communication and brings peace and inclusiveness.
“Philosophically, tourism helps promote human innovation, thus pursuing the long-term prosperity of human civilisation.”
Liang said travel has the potential to reduce inequality and to increase understanding between people and even to promote world peace.
He said although the emerging Metaverse has the potential to replace the real world with digital experiences, travel should resist this.
“In the travel industry we definitely want people to experience the real universe, giving them a better service to defeat the metaverse, that should be our mission.
“The real universe should win; it’s much better, more complex. Let’s work together to give much better experiences in the real universe.”
Following the reopening of China in January following Covid, Liang emphasised Trip.com Group’s ‘Local Focus, Global Vision’ strategy and commitment to sustainability.
He said: “At Trip.com Group, we have made it our mission to provide the best travel experience possible.
“We will explore AI innovation, travel content marketing, and sustainable practices to enhance every aspect of the user experience while preserving our planet and community.”