Australian Tourism: Exceeding Expectations
Australia continues to exceed the expectations of Chinese tourists according to latest figures from Tourism Research Australia.
More than 80 percent of Chinese tourists say their travel experience to Australia met or exceeded expectations, according to recent research from Tourism Research Australia.
Interviews with 3,600 Chinese visitors to Australia during 2013, found that 90 percent were satisfied with their trip to Australia and 83 per cent said their trip met or exceeded expectations. In a boon for Australia, 85 percent of visitors were likely to recommend Australia as a holiday destination.
Chinese visitors overwhelmingly said Australia’s natural environment and livability were the main reasons they would recommend Australia to family and friends. Safety and friendly Australians also rated highly with 96 percent of Chinese tourists particularly happy with personal safety and security, and 94 percent with the friendliness of locals. Australia’s natural environment formed an essential part of the Chinese visitor experience with 65 percent hoping to have a nature- based experience and 26 percent a wildlife experience. Almost half cited Australia’s unspoilt natural environment as the single best feature of Australia.
Overall, 93 percent of Chinese visitors expecting a nature-based experience had their expectations met or exceeded. Other key points of satisfaction were Australia’s attractions (77 percent), wine experiences (72 percent) and food and beverages (69 per cent). Down on the satisfaction list was value for money and shopping,’ with only 50 per cent of Chinese visitors satisfied with shopping in Australia. Satisfaction levels were higher for independent travellers from China than they were for group tourists.
*Pictured right: Victoria’s Great Ocean Road and Twelve Apostles (Tourism Australia / Richard Powers).
Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said the survey findings demonstrated the quality of the Australian tourism industry and were encouraging to all operators as the industry sought to attract further tourism from China.
There were 685,000 Chinese visitors to Australia in the 2012-2013 year – an 18 percent increase on the previous year. In 2013, Chinese inbound tourism expenditure hit A$4.4 billion. By 2022−2023, the number of Chinese visitors is forecast to increase to 1.4 million and expenditure to reach A$8.2 billion.
Mr Robb said the government was committed to seeking further Foreign Direct Investment into the Australian tourism industry to develop high-yield luxury tourism accommodation to leverage Australia’s natural advantages.
“We understand from compounding research that China’s growing middle-class demographic are seeking high-end luxury tourism experiences – and we are well placed in Australia to provide those experiences if we have the right infrastructure,” he said.
Dr Leo Jago, Chief Economist for TRA, said the report was good news for the Australian tourism sector.
“It means the majority of Chinese visitors are likely to recommend Australia as a holiday destination to their family and friends,” Dr Jago said.
“These visitors make an important contribution to our economy. China is Australia’s fastest growing inbound tourism market and tourists from China are the largest spenders in Australia,” he said.
The high rating of nature-based experiences amongst Chinese tourists should bode well for states and territories beyond Victoria and New South Wales hoping to tap into this burgeoning market.
Dr Benxiang Zeng, an Alice Springs-based Senior Research Fellow with the Charles Darwin University says the results should prompt the Northern Territory to prepare for a dramatic increase in Chinese tourists.
Dr Zeng said he was optimistic that the Territory could position itself to better tap into the Chinese outbound tourism market, which appears poised for significant growth over the next few years. “Potentially, we are talking about big numbers, big opportunities and big dollars,” Dr Zeng said.
Last year about 900,000 travellers from the Greater China Region visited Australia but only about 13,000 visited the Northern Territory.
“The question ‘how should destination regions such as the Northern Territory prepare to welcome more Chinese tourists’ is one that I reflect on a lot,” Dr Zeng said.
He agreed that nature-based experiences should be a key focus of marketing activities directed at Chinese visitors.
“As the survey points out, some 65 percent of Chinese visitors desire this sort of experience in their Australian travels. They love to get away from their overcrowded cities to see an unspoilt natural environment and to experience the exotic culture,” Dr Zeng said.
“I know that work is being done in regard to this but there are still millions of Chinese people who think of Australia in terms of Sydney and Melbourne.”
Dr Zeng said investing in Chinese language information including online messages, printed materials, visual products and signage in public places as well as raising awareness through social media, were key ways of promoting the Northern Territory as a tourist destination to people in China. ■