Pullman Cairns

An international expert has highlighted the importance of the Chinese tourism market at a recent symposium hosted by The University of Queensland.

Professor Wolfgang Arlt, Director of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, revealed that by 2015, China is likely to become the number one international tourism source market in the world. From 1995 to 2010, global tourism figures increased by 73% while the Chinese figure grew by an incredible 815%.

With the Australian tourism industry providing more than half a million jobs and generating AUD$34 billion in revenue, capturing a portion of this rapidly growing market could have a significant effect on the nation’s economy.

Affluent and well-travelled customers below the age of 45 – known as ‘new Chinese tourists’ – are also becoming an increasingly lucrative niche market.

As Australia’s number one tourism export market in expenditure, worth around AUD$3 billion a year and growing strongly, Australia is now competing against countries such as Canada to attract the Chinese market.

“This time last year Canada was not an Approved Destination Status country, but they have quickly moved to rectify that and claim their share of Chinese tourism demand,” said Asia Tourism Relations Managing Director Glen Hingley. “Australia must now move to shore up this market to protect its potential into the future.”

Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) Managing Director, Felicia Mariani said the Tourism Memorandum of Understanding recently signed between Australia and China presents a unique opportunity and opens the door for more Chinese tourism to Australia.

“Now is the time for us to capitalize on this opportunity by creating a tourism product that directly connects with the Chinese tourist,” Mariani said.

Nell Anderson, General Manager Strategy and Research at Tourism Australia said in the last year 453,800 Chinese visitors travelled to Australia, a year-on-year increase of 24%.

“China is an ‘overnight success story’ which has been 12 years in the making! Since being the first western country to be awarded Approved Destination Status (ADS) for group leisure travel back in 1999, we’ve put a huge amount of effort into developing the China market, the benefits of which are now being seen,” Anderson said.

Tourism Australia has developed the 2020 China Strategic Plan to realise the industry potential of this booming market and ensure our national tourism industry is adequately prepared.

“The plan identifies the key opportunities that will help Australia win market share and grow the China travel market to as much as AUD$9.5 billion in overnight expenditure and 860,000 visitors annually by 2020,” Anderson said.

As reported in HM last week, The Pullman Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns has been announced as the first hotel to be accredited to Accor’s new Optimum Service Standards for Chinese Visitation, paving the way for the hotel to attract greater numbers of Chinese visitors to North Queensland.