Australian Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism, Martin Ferguson, recaps his recent visit to China.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Shanghai to launch the update to Tourism Australia’s There’s Nothing Like Australia campaign.
It was the first time a global Tourism Australia campaign has been launched outside Australia and it was no accident that we chose China.
Tourism between Australia and China has grown impressively particularly during the past decade.
The number of visitors from China to Australia grew by almost 20 percent in 2011 alone, exceeding half a million in a single year for the first time.
China was Australia’s most valuable inbound tourism market during this period, contributing a record $3.8 billion to our economy.
By 2020, China’s potential worth to the Australian tourism industry is expected to range between $7 and $9 billion, at which time more than a million Chinese visitors are
expected to visit Australia each year.
In 1999 Australia and New Zealand were the first western countries to receive Approved Destination Status, giving Chinese citizens the opportunity to travel here as part of group leisure activities.
In June 2011, Tourism Australia also launched a dedicated strategic plan for the China market.
*Pictured above: Understanding the tastes of Chinese tourists is key to developing Australia’s readiness for this ballooning market. (Freycinet, Tasmania – Tourism Australia)
The 2020 China Strategic Plan is about ensuring that Australia is prepared for the continued growth in tourism from China so that we can realise the opportunities and ensure we continue to deliver quality experiences for visitors from the country.
As part of this strategic plan, Tourism Australia’s North Asia headquarters moved to Shanghai, with staff also placed in Beijing and Guangzhou to better meet the growing needs of the market.
On top of this, Tourism Australia prepared research to help better understand the Chinese consumer, particularly in the secondary cities outside of the three core markets of Greater Shanghai, Greater Beijing and Guangdong.
In addition, over $1 million dollars is being invested into translating, into Mandarin, all of the tourism accommodation, product and experience information held by the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse.
This means the information of more than 26,000 Australian tourism businesses on the database will soon be instantly accessible to Chinese consumers via Tourism Australia, state tourism organisations and various distributor websites.
Recently, the Australian Government provided a $600,000 Strategic Tourism Investment Grant for the Welcoming Chinese Visitors program, or Huanying Nin, to develop a range of cultural awareness training and support programs to help make Australian tourism businesses China-ready.
As well as these supply side initiatives, the There’s Nothing Like Australia campaign is evolving to ensure Australian tourism remains relevant, competitive and committed to maintaining and growing our share of the global tourism market, particularly in China.
Tourism Australia will significantly increase its funds for marketing Australia to China and other Asian markets from 2012–13.
This comes in addition to the recently established Asian Marketing Fund, which will deliver an additional $48.5 million over the next four years to activities in the region.
Investment in new ventures is essential to the life of the tourism industry—with this in mind, I was pleased to see China Eastern Airlines’ recent announcement of three weekly flights between Shanghai and Cairns.
This will add to services it already operates to Sydney and Melbourne and follows last year’s commencement of China Southern Airlines flights from Guangzhou to Perth.
I welcome increasing Chinese interest in flights to Australia as well as in local accommodation, tours and tourism infrastructure.
The Australian Tourism Investment Guide is an excellent resource to help foreign and domestic firms pursue these opportunities.
It lists current investment-ready projects and contains practical information to facilitate their development.
China has proven to be a long-term friend of Australia, and a great friend to our tourism industry.
It is a partnership we greatly value and will continue to make every effort to maintain.
Martin Ferguson AM MP
Minister for Tourism ■
*To read more on recent T-QUAL recipients using their grant to specifically enhance Chinese traveller expereinces, click here.