China ready tourism

Australia continues to face challenges in repairing relations with China but as Chinese tourists still view Australia as a favourable that’s a market industry leaders say tourism operators must focus on

10 July 2020 | Staff Writers (Image: Annie Spratt)

The Australia China Business Council (ACBC) has published a new report Inbound Tourism from China: Supporting recovery and future growth, with wide-ranging recommendations on rebuilding Chinese tourism in Australia after travel restrictions are eased.

It recommends building stronger China capability in the tourism industry, including boosting understanding of Chinese social media channels and payment platforms.

“We understand that it is not yet possible for Chinese tourists to return to Australia. It is, however, important that we take measures now to support future growth in inward Chinese tourism once conditions allow,” says David Olsson, ACBC National Chairman and President.

“As Australia’s largest international tourism market, with the highest level of visitor spending by a wide margin, many Australian businesses will benefit from the return of Chinese tourism,” he said.

In 2019, China accounted for some 1.4 million visitors and $12.4 billion in annual tourist expenditure.

The report recommends the federal government lead a national promotional campaign across China after travel restrictions are eased.

“Industry and government at all levels will need to send a clear, consistent message about the warm welcome and world class experiences Chinese tourists can expect here,” said Simon McGrath Chief Operating officer of Accor-Pacific, an ACBC member and national sponsor.

The report also makes recommendations on making visa processes more easily understood, the Tourist Refund Scheme and road safety for self-drive tourists.

Commenting on future easing of travel restrictions, Mr Olsson said, “The government’s decision-making will rightly be guided by public health considerations.

A report authored by McKinsey research points to some positive signs for Australian tour operators hoping to attract Chinese tourism. It shows domestic Chinese tourism number have improved since the COVID-19 slump in February.

It found that younger travelers under the age of 34 were the biggest single demographic of domestic tourists in the past two months. The majority were free independent travelers (FIT) who tend to spend more time and money whilst vacationing and that one of the top reasons for choosing a holiday destination was the level of COVID-19 infection that destinations had seen.

Once international borders re-open this suggests Chinese tourists will look favourably upon Australia as a holiday destination.