Australia wants more Chinese visitors

by Ray Clancy on March 16, 2012

in Australia Travel

Kangaroos, koalas and the Great Barrier Reef attract many visitors, research shows

More Chinese people are visiting Australia and now they are being actively lured as part of a 10 year plan to encourage them to spend more time in the country.

Consumer research carried out across 13 of China’s largest and fastest growing cities found that China is Australia’s fastest growing and most valuable international tourism market, worth more than A$3.8 billion in 2011, up 15% on the previous year.

A record 558,600 Chinese visited Australia during the twelve months ending January 2012, up 17.1%, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.

The research for Tourism Australia carried out by research consultancy GfK Blue Moon found that Australia was the most desired long haul destination and also identified high consistency in consumer behaviour and trends across both China’s largest primary cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and its emerging secondary cities.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy believes extending research for the first time into China’s secondary cities was essential to build upon its successful campaign platform and to now seek to maximise the geographic reach and impact of its future marketing activity.

The information will be used for Tourism Australia’s China 2020 Strategic Plan, announced in June 2011 and will involve targeting up to 30 Chinese cities, in a phased approach between now and the end of the decade.

The research found that Australia is regarded as an aspirational, highly regarded, must visit destination and the experience of those who have visited Australia exceeds their expectations.

Respondents said that they regard Australia as combining natural and laid back experiences with the comforts of a developed country, offering modern infrastructure and unique and famous iconic attractions.

Respondents indicated a strong desire to visit the country’s most famous attractions such as the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef and to see kangaroos and koalas. However, awareness and regional knowledge beyond these typical icons was more limited.

It also found that Chinese people think that the Australian visa application process is easier or comparable to other long haul destinations.

‘We plan to use these findings to help prioritise our marketing activities in China and best educate the Australian tourism industry to capitalise on the anticipated strong growth in the middle and upper classes that can afford and want to travel long-haul outside of China,’ said Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy.

‘Tourism Australia will make a further record investment in marketing resources in China in 2012 for the market is unprecedented in terms of its high growth and high value. The Chinese consumer also has great enthusiasm for our country, indeed, in their view there is nothing like Australia,’ he added.

Victoria Parr, director of Social Research at GfK Blue Moon believes the findings present significant opportunities for Australian tourism to showcase itself well beyond the country’s most famous attractions and experiences.

‘Whilst well known icons such as the Sydney Opera House, Great Barrier Reef, kangaroos and koalas continue to be key draw cards driving Australia’s popularity, this research also highlights opportunities to showcase Australia’s other, lesser known attractions to potentially draw in repeat visitors and further enhance the overall destination offer,’ she added.

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