Australia working hard to attract more Chinese visitors

by Ray Clancy on August 1, 2012

in Australia Travel

China is Australia's most valuable overseas tourism market

The Australian government and tourism department are pressing ahead with a core ten year plan to attract more Chinese visitors to the country.

The China 2020 Strategic Plan is a core element in the government’s tourism 2020 strategy, aimed at doubling overnight visitor expenditure to up to A$140 billion by 2020.

China is Australia’s fastest growing and the most valuable overseas tourism market, delivering more than half a million plus visitors and A$3.8 billion in spending in 2011.

The China market has the potential to be worth up to A$9 billion alone by the end of the decade. However, increasing numbers of visitors from China is neither inevitable nor guaranteed, according to Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy.

The organisation recently launched its new global marketing campaign in Shanghai and increasing its marketing resourcing in China by 41% in 2012/13.

‘The increase in resources simply reflects the size and scale of the outbound travel opportunity presented by China. China is now our fastest growing and the most valuable overseas tourism market,’ he said.

He believes its China ambitions will be significantly aided through the new Asia Marketing Fund, announced by the Australian Government in the recent 2012/13 Budget. This will deliver an additional A$61 million to Tourism Australia’s budget over the next four years, helping to accelerate its development plans in China.

But McEvoy explained that reaping the benefits of the ‘Asian Century’ requires more than just additional resources and good marketing campaigns.

‘We know from our research that our global campaign resonates extremely well in China but, whilst this is great, it’s only part of the equation. You can build all the demand you want through compelling ads, but if the actual experience fails to deliver on the promise, you end up doing more harm than good,’ he said.

McEvoy added that being ‘China ready’ was critical if the industry is to fully leverage Australia’s destination appeal amongst China’s new urban elite.

‘The fact that 542,000 Chinese travellers visited our country last year is fantastic, but certainly no reason to feel the job is done. If we’re not fully prepared, the Asian Century will pass us by. The great news is that we’re starting to see the industry really embrace this opportunity by adapting their business to meet the needs of Chinese visitors,’ he said.

Hotels in Australia are taking steps to make Chinese visitors more at home by putting Chinese dishes on menus and providing Chinese newspapers, Chinese television channels, electrical adaptors and welcome kits in Mandarin.

Many tourist attractions now employ Mandarin speaking staff and provide Chinese cultural awareness training for all employees as well as brochures in Chinese. Websites have pages in Chinese and some have introduced signs in Chinese.

McEvoy also pointed to recent improvements in aviation access and capacity between Australia and China, including new direct flights into China’s secondary cities.

‘In many cases, Tourism Australia has actively influenced these outcomes, through aviation development funding and cooperative marketing activities,’ he added.

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