Travel Industry Leadership in Italy and China — A Biographical Comparison

Hongbo Zhang, Brian King

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Entrepreneurial leadership has been important in developing the global travel industry with implications for both organizations and people. This comparative biographical analysis of two travel industry leaders and their respective contexts in Italy and China documents and evaluates these dimensions and applicable leadership constructs. The subjects are an Italian tour operator leader, Ermanno Chizzali (Founder of Ignas Tour SpA), and a Chinese tour operator leader, Ms. Xiaojuan Yin (Founder of Chengdu Harmony International Travel). Information was collected, analyzed, and compared about the two leaders, their organizations and leadership styles. Reference was made to their backgrounds, characteristics, values, and strategies. It was observed that entrepreneurial and innovative leadership offers evident advantages in the creation and development of Small and Medium-Sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs). The authors conclude that SMTE leaders should engage in continuous learning and training to a) adapt their leadership skills and practices and b) capitalize on scholarly insights and perspectives. This will involve addressing geopolitical and socio-cultural tensions by leveraging corporate legacies involving cross-border stakeholders to enhance competitiveness, collaboration, and agility.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of China Tourism Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Chinese outbound tourism
  • entrepreneur
  • Leadership
  • tour operator
  • travel industry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

Cite this