The number of Chinese tourists visiting Australia has passed the one-million mark in a 12-month period for the first time, the milestone being reached in the 12 months to November 2015.
The achievement, revealed in the latest overseas arrivals figures released last week, has been hailed by Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan, who said that the key to building a market now worth AUD 7.7 billion annually to the Australian economy had been moving away from traditional group tours and aggressively targeting China’s rapidly emerging middle class.
“Tourism Australia’s marketing, distribution and partnership strategies are all now geared towards targeting this new breed of young, independent traveller with the desire and the financial means to explore our country. That’s where we are focusing our resources and I’m delighted to say that is what is driving these impressive results,” he said.
Tourism Australia has undertaken several recent initiatives to boost Chinese tourism such as building an elite network of travel agents in China who are specially trained to sell tour packages to high-yielding clients. In recent years, Tourism Australia has also signed major strategic marketing agreements with China’s largest carriers, including China Southern, China Eastern and Air China.
O’Sullivan said those Australian tourism businesses which understood and were willing to adapt to the needs of Chinese visitors would derive the biggest benefits.
“We’ve gone to significant lengths to research and improve our understanding of our target consumer – their travel preferences and behaviour and the type of tourism experiences they are most looking for. The good news is that the industry is really starting to embrace this incredible opportunity by developing experiences which better meet the needs of the many Chinese visitors now flocking to our country,” he said.
The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) also welcomed the figures, which confirm that 1,001,200 Chinese tourists travelled to Australia in the 12 months to November 2015. Australia may be on the road to capturing 1% (yes, one per cent!) of the total number of Chinese who travel outside China each year.
“More than one million Chinese visitors to Australia each year is great news for our economy because Chinese visitors stay longer and they spend more when they are here,” TTF chief executive, Margy Osmond, said.
“Chinese visitors spent more than AUD 7.72 billion in the year to September 2015 according to the latest research which is over 200% more compared to the AUD 2.55 billion spent by our current largest tourist market of New Zealand.
“While this is a significant record that has been broken it still represents less than 1% of the more than 100 million Chinese traveling overseas each year – a figure which is expected to double to 200 million by 2020.
“There is tremendous potential to capture more of the booming Chinese tourism market and grow our broader visitor economy with a stronger partnership between government and industry.”
Osmond said putting the tourism sector and other growth industries at the heart of Australia’s future economic strategy was a key reason TTF has joined with other leading industry bodies in agribusiness, IT, financial services and international education to form the Future Economy Forum.
“The Future Economy Forum is a critical part of making sure that government and our stakeholders have a clear understanding of the economic importance of the visitor economy.
“We need a holistic economic strategy to ensure that the tourism industry can reach its full potential and support thousands of new jobs and economic growth for Australia.”
Edited by Peter Needham