Promo Events Planned For World Expo In Shanghai
Chinese mainland visitors a prime target for Australia
Tourism Australia expects China to be the third-largest source of visitors to Australia within three years and is striving to attract more Chinese mainland visitors to meet that expectation. The Chinese mainland is projected to become the fourth-largest source of international visitors to Australia by the end of this year and the third-largest within three years.
So far, the nation is ranked fifth after New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan, Richard Beere, executive general manager of the international (eastern hemisphere) division of Tourism Australia, told China Business Weekly. In view of the strong Chinese economy and growing two-way exchanges, Beere said that he is highly confident about the Chinese tourism market.
At the World Expo in Shanghai next year, Tourism Australia has planned promotional events to promote the down-under destination.
A total of 356,400 Chinese mainland residents visited Australia last year, which was flat compared with 2007, and 276,500 traveled to the country in the first nine months of this year, representing year-over-year growth of 1 percent. In September alone, visitors from the Chinese mainland totaled 22,900, an increase of 19 percent compared with the same month a year earlier.
Beere said the number of Chinese mainland visitors to Australia posted an annual compound growth rate of 18 percent between 1998 and 2003, and 15 percent between 2003 and last year. Beere said the rate of growth is expected to rise by 11 percent over the next five years.
Although travel by Chinese government officials has declined, independent travel is emerging as a trend, and student and VFR (visiting friends and relatives) travel remains strong, said Johnny Nee, regional general manager for north Asia of Tourism Australia. "The demand for in-depth and quality itineraries is developing," Nee said.
Tourism Australia will step up the promotion among Chinese consumers, in addition to tourism operators. The organization is going deeper in the Chinese market by exploring second-tier cities in what Beere calls a step-by-step effort.
On overall Australian tourism, Nee said the market was highly uncertain last year, but has shown clear signs of recovery this year. "The confidence for a recovery is back, although challenges remain," Nee said.
Meanwhile, as the discrepancy among the mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan markets is no longer significant, Tourism Australia has integrated its marketing efforts to increase efficiency, he said.
Tourism Australia held a travel mission for the mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in Guangzhou in early November that attracted 177 travel agents and 48 Australian tourism operators.