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Radio Guest List–Hainan Island, China–May 24, 2014

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attendantsOdds are, you’ve never heard of this week’s radio show location. It’s Haitang Bay, on Hainan Island. The island is China’s southernmost province, but is actually closer to Vietnam than it is to China.

Hainan Island first entered Chinese history in 110 BC, when the Han Dynasty used it as an offshore military base. While it was civilized, the island largely remained an untouched “wild west,” until the government declared it a “special economic zone” in 1988.

Now, over 25 years later, the island is rapidly transforming into one of China’s tourism hubs, seeing over 30 million inbound tourists annually. And with China opening at least 20 new airports in the next year alone, that number is sure to rise as more people are given access to direct flights. To put things in perspective, the last major U.S. airport to open was Denver…19 years ago!

This astonishing rate of development coupled with a Chinese population that is traveling more and farther than ever before, made Hainan Island the perfect host for the 14th Global Summit of the World Travel & Tourism Council. This week’s guest list brings in some of the most influential editors, hoteliers, and business leaders in the travel industry today.

Click here to listen to the show streaming live from 10 am until 1 pm ET on Saturday, May 24, 2014.

Call in with your travel questions at 1-888-88-PETER (1-888-887-3837) or email (Write “ASK PETER” in the subject line)

Pilar Guzmán, editor-in-chief of Condé Nast Traveler, sits down with Peter to discuss the magazine’s recent “2014 Hot List.” The list considered over 500 new hotels in 400 cities and 93 countries to bring readers the top 33 to debut in the last year. But it’s not all glitz and glamor; tune in to hear Peter and Pilar’s biggest hotel pet peeves, and why they promise to give you the “nickel and dime list” in 2014.

Arnie Weissmann, senior vice president and editor-in-chief of Travel Weekly, discusses the history of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), and what it says about travel and tourism as a whole that the convention has been held in China three times in the past 5 years. Hint: The industry is spreading like wildfire, and with a population of 1.3 billion people, China isn’t slowing down anytime in the foreseeable future.

Jean-Claude Baumgarten, recent president and CEO of the WTTC and president and CEO of Mexican real estate development, chats with Peter at the Kempinski hotel in Haitang Bay. They retrace his years with Air France and how aviation is so rapidly changing as a business. What’s really interesting is what this means for China, and the future of Chinese airports, airlines, and both inbound and outbound tourism.

Raymond Bickson, managing director & CEO of the Taj Hotel Group, joins Peter from the heart of the convention at the Renaissance hotel. As one of the world’s most prominent hoteliers, Bickson knows a thing or two about choosing the right hotel. He shares his secrets on what to look for, from room features to customer service to new check-in desks operated by not hotel employees, but iPads. Find out why he and Peter agree that while new technology is key to staying competitive, you’ll never be able to replace the personal touch of a conversation.

By Courtney Crockett for