Tourism Queensland: Time to learn Mandarin


Mandarin should be offered as a subject in Queensland schools if the state is going to get its piece of the multi billion-dollar pie that is the Chinese tourist market, according to the state’s peak tourism body.

Tourism Queensland has released its Project China discussion paper, a 58-page missive on the expectations of Chinese travelers and what needs to be done to make Queensland a prime destination for them.

The paper says the koala has been relied on for too long to attract Chinese to Queensland and the industry needs to become more innovative, with estimates the China market could be worth $7 billion to $9 billion annually to Australia by 2020.

“Tourism operators who want to grow the China market need to be aware of the motivations and expectations of Chinese travelers and committed to delivering on these,” Tourism Queensland said.

“…meeting minimum standards is no longer enough in an increasingly competitive market.

“The industry must draw knowledge from available research and market intelligence and be committed to providing best practice.”

The paper suggests offering the dominant Chinese language of Mandarin in schools to increase the number of people who are able to communicate with the tourists when they visit the state.

It goes in to detail about Chinese tourist habits, such as their avoidance of the number four meaning they will not stay on the fourth floor of hotels.

The Chinese are very family oriented and before making decisions they will discuss it at length with family and friends which means word of mouth promotion of Queensland is very important.

The discussion paper says cultural business training of small operators’ staffs will also be important in the next few years.

It says Queenslanders need to look past the Great Barrier Reef and koalas as main attractions.

“What is next after the koala or Great Barrier Reef as a point of difference for Queensland?” the paper asks.

“While the reef will continue to be a pull to the Chinese visitor, we need to understand what’s next; anecdotal feedback from a Brisbane tour provider suggests that in the future the koala may not be enough to keep Chinese travellers coming.

“The life cycle of any product demands that product refreshment is required during the term of the offering; therefore it is appropriate to reflect on what is being offered in Queensland to determine if it is distinctly different from Queensland’s competitor markets.

“Delivering authentic Australian products and experiences will be critical to success in growing the China market.”

Tourism Queensland is asking for feedback on the discussion paper and will launch its strategic and action plans next year for attracting more Chinese tourists to the state.