For culture and tourism professionals, it’s easy to feel lost when it comes to dealing with China, now the world’s single biggest outbound travel market. Fortunately, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is offering a new course with solutions to help you understand the unique demands of Chinese travellers. What’s more, students needn’t even step foot on the island city — it’s all online.

The China Tourism Training (CTT) program has been developed in conjunction with China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI), thereby fusing the industry experience of COLTRI with the academic rigor of PolyU across five specialized tracks: hospitality, retail, attractions, transport, and destinations. Expectations for the program are high, as Poly U’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management is known as a global leader in its field, placing third in QS World University’s 2018 Hospitality and Leisure Management rankings.

“[The] China outbound tourism market is booming in terms of size and consumer power,” says Dr. Tony Tse, Professor of Practice, School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM), PolyU, in correspondence with Jing Travel. “Around 10% of Chinese residents have passports, indicating huge potential for growth…The CTT program aims to provide a better understanding of the Chinese outbound travelers’ behavior and trends.”

With the number of outbound Chinese trips set to reach 180 million by the end of 2019, this joint program seeks to bridge the gap between the increasing contact of Western tourism services with Chinese tourists and the limited industry knowledge of the clientele. “Understanding the Chinese outbound behavior is of growing importance,” Dr. Tse explains. “Tourism professions will be able to leverage on the program to shape and execute effective marketing campaigns.”

Each CTT track is comprised of 12 hours of content and uses up-to-date information provided by industry experts to offer best practices and unique insights to students. The course caters to both individuals and corporate clients and allows customization on a case-to-case basis with the ultimate goal of becoming the industry gold standard.

“The program will be able to run in a long term [way] to provide regularly updated insights on China,” Dr. Tse adds. “We hope that later, the program will also be offered offline. The program will become the world-recognized recourse for understanding the China outbound tourism market.”

As an additional benefit, those who enrol in the program will receive a lifetime membership to the SHTM Alumni Association, granting access to alumni activities, networking opportunities and a range of hotel, dining, and lifestyle benefits.