'China Ready' becomes new motto of Aussie tourism
Updated: 2013-05-02 16:22
SYDNEY -- A radical reshaping is taking place in Australia's lucrative tourism market, with tourism operators partnering with leading Chinese brands in an attempt to become "China Ready" for Australia's fastest growing and most cherished market.
It's a market with an impressive annual 12 percent growth and one that by 2020 is expected to contribute up to $9 billion annually to the Australian economy.
But just how "China Ready" are Australia's tourism operators?
Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said being "China Ready" was critical to fully leverage Australia's destination appeal for China's new and sophisticated globetrotter, and that progress was already being made.
"BridgeClimb Sydney is a good example of a popular Australian tourism operator adapting its business to cater better for Chinese visitors," he said.
Launched this year, BridgeClimb Sydney welcomed Chinese visitors in their own language with the launch of its new Mandarin Climb featuring local mandarin speaking guides -- specifically for Chinese visitors.
The new climb offers Chinese visitors, aged 10 years and over, a chance to fully participate in one of Australia's iconic experiences.
To ensure they were "China Ready" BridgeClimb developed a China plan and are continuously seeking expert advice through trusted Chinese partners.
In evidence, BridgeClimb forged a relationship with China UnionPay to ensure Chinese visitors' spending experience is seamless.
James Yang, Chief Representative, China Union Pay South Pacific, said UnionPay has already become a key component of many Aussie businesses' "China Ready" capacities.
"UnionPay, as a Chinese trust and preferred payment method, has been accepted by thousands of Australian business in the industries of tourism, education and retails," he said.
China has become the largest outbound tourism country in Asia and the third largest overseas consumer population in the world, according to China Southern Airlines, and the capacity to meet this challenge requires genuine cross-border commercial coordination.
Tourism Australia and State tourism partners like Destination New South Wales (DNSW) entered into a cooperative marketing deal in 2012 that will see more than A$9 million invested in 2013 with China's largest and fastest growing international airline, China Southern Airlines.
China Southern is now the leading carrier on the China- Australia route, carrying 22 percent of all Chinese tourists into Australia during 2011.
In just over two years, the airline has nearly quadrupled capacity to Australia, opening up direct access between China and Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth, and soon to be Cairns. China Southern has a large network in China and is rapidly developing Guangzhou into a major hub which will ultimately help connect up to 80 cities to Australia.
Tan Wan'geng, President and CEO of China Southern Airlines, told Xinhua, "CSN will continue to focus on Australia as the most important overseas tourism destination. In 2009, CSN decided to build an Australia transfer service network in the Canton aviation hub, which shall later also links Europe and Oceania."
In the past four years, CSN's capacity input in the Australia and New Zealand region has seen an annual growth of 50 percent or more.
With the increase in Chinese visitors to Australia it is imperative that the inbound tourism operators and Australian based tourism industry operators work cohesively and collaboratively toward to the common goal of providing a service or experience which meets the needs of Chinese travelers.
Last month, the largest ever group of NSW tourism operators voyaged to the southern Chinese city of Sanya, Hainan Province to meet with key travel trade representatives as part of efforts to build on the growing Chinese tourism market.
"The NSW Government, through DNSW, is working hard to capitalize on that growing source market and maintain NSW as the leading destination for Chinese visitors," State Minister for Tourism George Souris said.
Chinese visitor arrivals to Australia are expected to reach close to 1 million by 2020.