Speakers and staff of CIAC 

By Greg Hugh, Staff Writer 

Travel agents from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Illinois recently attended an information meeting organized by CIAC Travel,whose headquarters are in Bloomington, MN. The event was co-hosted by the China National Tourism Office, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Macau Government Tourist Board and Hainan Airline.

The meeting was held at the Sofitel in Bloomington, MN and in addition to a presentation on traveling to China, included dinner, prizes, quizzes and a game of dexterity for the invited, seasoned travel agent.  Guests were encouraged to dress in traditional Chinese attire and a prize was awarded to the best man and woman that did so.

The formal portion of the meeting began with Ron Mahlen, Managing Director of CIAC,Inc., welcoming the group who then introduced the other speakers.

The following speakers then spoke on their various organizations and the respective locations or service:  Ms.Xinhong Zhang, China Tourist Office, Ms. Margaret Bell, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Mr. Joao Rodrigues, Macau Government Tourist Office, Mr. Frank Fang,Hainan Airline and Ms. Melody Zhou, CIAC Travel Inc.

Melody Zhou

In her remarks, Zhou commented that travel to China has increased dramatically since the period of 1949-1978 when only 125,000 visited China to 2007 when over 26 million people visited China in just a single year.

For those not familiar with the emergence of China as a travel destination, Zhou presented a number of facts.  China is the third largest country in the world after Russia and Canada, with a total area of approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers, equivalent to nearly one fifteenth of the world's land. China has 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions (Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Tibet and Xinjiang), 2 special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau), and 4 metropolis under direct jurisdiction of the Central Government —Beijing (capital), Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing China.  Home to 1.3 billion people, China has the world’s biggest population accounting for one-fifth of the population on earth. China is also a land of various ethnic nationalities.The majority are  Han Chinese, making up 93 percent of the population, who live with other 55 national minorities in the country. China, representing one of the earliest civilizations in the world, has the longest recorded history of about 3,600 years.

Over the past few years, China has become a traveler-friendly country, wide open to anyone with a curious mind and the spirit of adventure. Today, a full-scale modern travel industry has developed throughout China.

To capitalize on the interest that has developed for travel to China, according to Zhou, CIAC Travel has evolved into one of the fastest growing  travel operators in the United States with travel  partners located in Hong Kong, Macau and throughout Mainland China. It’s ranked among the best travel agencies, and ideally positioned to make a trip a superb and authentic experience. CIAC Travel is independently U.S.-owned, and part of a group of companies providing trading and transportation services that have been doing business and sharing the beauty of China with the world since 1987.

Zhou then invited the group to view the special 2009 Brochure that has been just produced on the various tour packages that can now be booked through CIACTravel.  As the proprietor of the name, Best China Holidays, Zhou stated that CIAC is committed to providing travel tours that will meet the needs of individual or group tours and invited the travel agents to order these brochures for their use.

After a Q&A session, the presentation concluded with the presenters agreeing to stay as long as any of the travel agents wished to meet with them.

So if a trip to China is in your plans contact your travel agent for informationon Best China Holidays or visit www.bestchinaholidays.com.

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CHINAINSIGHT (CI) is published monthly ((except July/August and November/December are combined) by China Insight, Inc., an independent, privately owned company started in 2001 and headquartered in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

CHINAINSIGHT is the only English-language American newspaper to focus exclusively on connections between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

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