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Can Kunming Host International Events?

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China Hospitality News ran a story yesterday about China's main travel expo, China International Travel Mart (CITM), which will take place this Thursday through Sunday in Shanghai.

CITM is organized by the China National Tourism Administration, which holds the event alternately in Kunming and Shanghai. We attended the event at the Kunming International Expo Center near the airport last year and had a chance to see the reaction of the global travel industry to Kunming.

The general consensus seemed to be something along the lines of this quote by Bernadette Dennis, Vice President, Asia Pacific and Global Sales Organization for Marriott International, who attended the event in Kunming last November:

"Kunming does not have the infrastructure for a 'global' meeting, therefore it is a poor location for such an important trade show."

In general this statement is not far off the mark. Kunming has little in the way of the five-star accomodations that go hand-in-hand with international city status and global image the city is looking to achieve. Physical infrastructure aside, Kunming and Yunnan in general still have only a basic grasp of the needs of international business travelers.

Hopefully we'll be attending CITM again here in Kunming next year and outsiders' impressions of the city will be at least a little better. That will require much to change in the meantime

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