An opening in the Great Wall of Chinese travel - a great step forward

Bart Tompkins

Managing Director, China, Amadeus IT Group

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As the first step towards a truly open market, this will come as much-welcomed news by travel agents, airlines and of course Amadeus.


You may have read the recent news that China’s GDS industry is now open to international players. We welcome this opening in the ‘Great Wall’ as it gives Chinese travellers and travel agents access to the same flights and travel content via the latest technology as the rest of the world.

The new regulations from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) came into effect on 1 October 2012. International airlines can now use a GDS such as Amadeus to distribute their airfares to travel agents in China, and travel agents can now use a GDS to book airline tickets, as well as hotel rooms and rental cars through Amadeus.

Amadeus has had a presence in China for many years and established a strong understanding of the local travel market, and we now look forward to benefiting from this and expect to process reasonable volumes of bookings during 2013.

What is clear is that China is a market that is of crucial importance to almost every travel company in the world. The Chinese air travel market has maintained its growth, even among slower economic quarters, and the Chinese traveller is becoming increasingly discerning, demanding access to the same travel products and services that are available outside of China.

These regulations open the way forward, although with some restrictions, and the new conditions do not apply to Chinese airlines, which represent the lion’s share of China’s air bookings and who will continue to be able to only distribute their flights via Chinese GDS TravelSky.

We therefore also hope in the longer term for a further gradual opening of the market and to an eventual true level playing field to allow the Chinese travel industry and the Chinese traveller to fully benefit from the world's most advanced travel technologies.


Asia Pacific, China