World Routes arrives in Chengdu - a rising star in the 'land of abundance'

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Chengdu’s increasing accessibility and dynamic economy have ensured that it is now recognised as a leading centre for foreign investment and development. Tax and investment incentives for foreign firms, together with low labour costs and high growth markets, have equipped Chengdu with a competitive edge to rival its coastal counterparts Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

World Routes arrives in Chengdu - a rising star in the 'land of abundance'

This year World Routes makes its return to China as senior network and business development executives, senior airline and airport management, tourism ministers and travel industry specialists, aircraft manufacturers and suppliers and members of the international, national, regional and aviation press will all meet at Century City New International Exhibition & Convention Centre in Chengdu for the 22nd World Route Development Forum.

Since Durban last year it has been another constantly changing landacape for the aviation sector mainly due to external factors. The event will, once again, be the place to examine air services, find out about new market developments and get up-to-speed on the up-and-coming destinations. For airlines, airports, tourism authorities and other stakeholders, World Routes is the place to learn, to negotiate, to build relationships and to help shape a business so that it has the competitive edge it needs in the coming years to grow and thrive.

This year's host city, Chengdu, is leading the way in the finance and technology sectors, having transformed itself into a leading commercial hub in Asia. Traditionally, coastal cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong have been China’s primary centres for business. Chengdu’s increasing accessibility and dynamic economy have ensured that it is now recognised as a leading centre for foreign investment and development.

Tax and investment incentives for foreign firms, together with low labour costs and high growth markets, have equipped Chengdu with a competitive edge to rival its coastal counterparts. The ancient city of Chengdu has always been recognised as a 'land of abundance'. The city’s GDP reached $161.5 billion in 2015, an increase of 7.9% on the previous year, and a growth rate that was 1.1% higher than the national average.

Human capital, central government support and development in major sectors such as logistics, finance and technology have contributed to Chengdu’s economic growth. Chengdu has also benefited from £5.3 billion of foreign investment. The city has witnessed substantial economic growth over the past decade, and is now home to more than 270 Fortune 500 companies, including IBM, Intel and Microsoft.

The influx of the world’s most profitable companies has created a significant increase in demand for business travel within the region. Committed to consolidating its position as a leading area for foreign investment and business, Chengdu has embraced the concept of connecting the city with new air services.

One of the most important frontiers for aviation, the Asia-Pacific region is forecast to lead world traffic by 2030. Much of the growth is predicted to come from the Chinese outbound travel market, which is expected to grow at an annual rate of 11% until 2030.

With more than 100 airlines serving 191 destinations and over 250 routes, World Routes 2016 host Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is mainland China’s fourth busiest aviation hub. The capacity of the airport is expected to increase to more than 63 million by 2020 and World Routes will provide delegates with a valuable insight into the significant air service opportunities the region has to offer.

Chengdu has already begun to execute a strategy to accommodate this rapid increase in passenger traffic, through the construction of Chengdu Tianfu International Airport, which is expected to be completed in 2019. New infrastructure and air routes have also helped Chengdu to establish itself as a leading investment centre. With a dynamic economy and attractive growth prospects, Chengdu has been classed by the World Bank as a “benchmark city for the investment environment in inland China.”

Each year the meetings between airlines and airports at World Routes are set against the economic and political backdrops of our time and once again the forum takes place against a backdrop of uncertainty in the aviation industry. Although airlines are predicted to post their biggest profits for some time, profit per passenger is still significantly less than the likes of Apple make per unit.

As the world’s airlines, airports and stakeholders examine the markets they wish to serve, the only certainty we face is one of a constantly changing landscape within which we operate.  But, this is what makes events like this year’s 22nd World Route Development Forum so important to the industry.

"With unique features, World Routes 2016 is unprecedented and has a great influence. It has attracted decision makers from world-famous airlines, airports, government organisations and tourism authorities. I sincerely hope that we can meet together here in Chengdu to discuss the strategy of global aviation development and share in the achievement of cooperation and communication," says Li Wei, board chairman, Sichuan Province Airport Group, the parent organisation of Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport.

A packed schedule of meetings and profile raising opportunities are the beating heart of this world leading event. The dedicated Routes team are there to ensure that World Routes works for all delegates, making sure that the meeting opportunities, which directly affect route networks, are bigger and broader every year.

More than 3,000 delegates from the world’s leading airlines, airports and tourism authorities are expected to attend this year’s World Routes from September 24 to 27, 2016. Alongside the meetings to discuss future air service opportunities, this year’s extensive conference programme will feature the World Routes Strategy Summit, Tourism Summit and Routes Talks. Each will cover a number of global issues affecting the aviation and tourism industries with a host of esteemed speakers and experts presenting.

"We’re very grateful to this year’s host, Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport and their partners for their dedication and the hard work they have put into delivering this year’s event," said Adrian Newton, group director, aviation & technology, UBM EMEA. "I hope that you will take the time to explore the city, as well as take advantage of the many networking and educational opportunities at World Routes. Thank you for being part of Routes and this dynamic community. I hope you have a very productive few days and enjoy World Routes 2016."

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