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The Rising Dragon: New whitepaper reveals few Australian businesses are capitalising on explosion in Chinese tourism

September 9, 2016 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

Sinorbis, an emerging digital leader helping Australian companies tap into China’s burgeoning online consumer population, today released a new whitepaper revealing the changing preferences of Chinese tourists visiting Australia.

The whitepaper – The Rising Dragon: Touring with the Chinese Traveller – examines the unique behaviour, expectations and key concerns of Chinese travellers, and details how Australian businesses can adapt their online marketing to capture a larger share of this market.


According to The Rising Dragon, while the US is still the most popular long-haul destination for Chinese outbound travellers, Australia is rapidly catching up as a preferred holiday destination.

Exclusive data in the whitepaper from Sogou (one of China’s largest search engines) reveals that searches for travel to Australia surged by 201% in 2015, compared with a 35% increase for the US and 17% increase for Europe over the same period.

Sinorbis’ research also highlights the changes in search volume across regions, with the highest search volume coming from Beijing (15%), Guandong (12%), Shanghai (9%), Jiangsu (8%) and Zhejiang (6%).

According to Sinorbis founder and CEO Nicolas Chu, the former global President of HotelClub and managing director of Expedia, with 50% of Chinese online searches for Australia coming from five regions, Australian tourism operators should incorporate regional idiosyncrasies into their marketing plans.

“A common misunderstanding is that the Chinese market is homogenous. The truth is far from this – China comprises 34 different provinces, each with distinct preferences and online habits,” said Mr Chu.

“Using the same marketing strategy to market to the whole of China is akin to adopting a shared marketing strategy for Australia and Ireland. It just doesn’t make sense.”

According to Sinorbis, the range of sources that Chinese travellers use to plan their journeys abroad is increasingly online.

“Not only do Chinese travellers increasingly go online to plan their travel, they’re also using local travel research sites such as Mafengwo, Qyer and Dianping, and local travel comparison sites such as Ctrip, Qunar and Tuniu,” said Mr Chu.

“In previous years, hoteliers, restaurants and attractions could rest easy focusing their attention on monitoring and managing their TripAdvisor review page.

“However, if you’re looking to attract Chinese travellers, you now need to track and manage your reputation across English and Mandarin speaking sites.”

The new data also reveals that Sydney and Melbourne have maintained their ranking as the most popular cities searched for by Chinese outbound travellers, accounting for 32% and 24% of the top ten city destination searches respectively. In the separate category of attractions, the Gold Coast and Great Barrier Reef together accounted for 63% of searches for the top ten attractions in Australia.

“While this new generation of Chinese traveller is eager to explore beyond the boundaries set by earlier generations, the language barrier can still be a large deterrent,” said Mr Chu.

“The market is wide open to proactive businesses prepared to adapt their processes to suit the needs of the Chinese tourist. Australian tourism and hospitality operators have the opportunity to tap into this burgeoning market, and our researched-based insights show that a three-pronged approach – adapt, invest and attract – is most effective in targeting Chinese outbound travellers,” he said.

Since establishing operations in early 2016, Sinorbis has signed with prominent Australian businesses such as BridgeClimb, REA Group, the University of New South Wales, the University of Technology, Sydney, and the University of Tasmania.

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