What happened: Chinese online travel services provider Ctrip’s innovation center Oasis Lab signed a strategic partnership with Plug and Play, a Silicon Valley-based global innovation platform for startups, corporations, and investors. The two parties will work together to support innovation in the travel industry by leveraging new technologies including artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, natural language processing, augmented reality, virtual reality, and the internet of things.
Why it’s important: China’s rapidly expanding tourism sector poses opportunities for innovation and product differentiation as more Chinese national travel at home and abroad. The country’s total tourism revenue is expected to hit RMB 5.98 trillion ($867 billion) in 2018, up 13% year-on-year. Integration of new technologies in the travel industry will improve user experience from pre-trip inspiration to post-trip reflection. Ctrip is Plug and Play’s first global partner in the travel vertical.