Tourism Australia and China Southern Airlines have signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding to specifically develop the business event travel sector in China.

Both organizations will work together to develop marketing campaigns and promotional activities targeting MICE agents and corporate buyers in China, which is now Australia largest source of visitors at 1.4 million (spending worth AUD$10.9 billion) as of the end of May 2018.

“Since 2011, China has been the most valuable inbound tourism market and continues to be highly significant to Australia. Our new partnership with China Southern Airlines will enable us to dedicate more efforts to tap into the Chinese business event sector which has great potential for Australia,” said Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan, noting it was the first of such an agreement signed between the two organizations.

There were 100,000 business events visitors to Australia from China in the year ending March 2018, an increase of 11 per cent, with a total spend of AUD$586 million, up 12 per cent on the same period in 2017.

“China Southern highly values Australia as a market offering boundless attractions to entice even the savviest of Chinese travelers which is why we continue to invest significantly in our Australia flights network and in promoting Australia as the must-go destination. The business event sector offers new opportunities for the airlines to expand its operations,” said China Southern Airlines President and CEO, Tan Wangeng.

The announcement complements recent Tourism Australia initiatives in the business event sector. These include the Business Events Bid Fund Program (BFP) a AUD$12 million investment for over the next three financial years. The program provides assistance to secure new and qualified international business events to Australia by offering financial support at the critical bidding stage.

Tourism Australia also recently announced its major incentive showcase for the China market – the Business Events Australia Greater China Showcase – will be held in Australia for the very first time this coming November. Capitalising on strong awareness and demand for Australia by Chinese incentive planners, the Showcase will provide key buyers from this important market with the opportunity to experience Australia’s event delivery capability and business events offering first-hand.

More than 60 Greater China buyers and media expected to attend. The Showcase program includes business to business meetings, a host city showcase and an educational program which will take buyers and media to several other Australian destinations.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management