When are Chinese tourists visiting Australia?

This post is the 6th and final part of our Intro series for the Australian market. Read part 1 “The Chinese are coming!” here, part 2 “Why are the Chinese coming?” here, part 3 “Who are your Chinese tourists?” here, part 4 “How are Chinese tourists seeing Australia” here and part 5 “Where are Chinese tourists visiting in Australia?” here.

In the 12 months to April 2016, almost 1.2 million Chinese visited Australia. Globally, Chinese outbound travel peaks during 2 key periods – January/February (which coincides with Chinese New Year) and October. The arrival statistics for Australia underlines how significant the January/February period is to the total numbers of Chinese tourists Australia receives, as demonstrated by the chart below which shows the percentage of Chinese arrivals for each month from the last 3 years:

when chinese visit

Approximately one third of Chinese visitors come to Australia in January, February and July. The large percentage of Chinese arrivals in July can be attributed to China’s summer school holidays. Like most Northern Hemisphere countries, China’s schools finish their academic calendar at the end of June/start of July, and the summer holidays last until the end of August. Given that many Chinese tourists come to Australia as a family, it is unsurprising that July is a particularly busy month for arrivals.

Other key periods are August (also due to China’s school holidays), December (indicating that an increasing number of affluent Chinese are travelling abroad for Christmas/New Year) and March (reflecting Chinese arrivals who have delayed their Chinese New Year holidays).

The three quietest months for Chinese visitors to Australia are June, May and April (in that order). However, it is worth noting that the numbers of Chinese visitors in these months were still greater in 2015 than the busiest months for Chinese visitors 6 years ago, truly a case of a rising tide lifting all boats!

But why do so many Chinese visit Australia in January and February, and increasingly in October? It all has to do with China’s “Golden Weeks”, two week-long holidays that were first introduced by the Chinese government in 2000.

Understanding China’s “Golden Weeks”

In 2000, the Chinese government first introduced the Golden Week holidays, with one occurring in either January or February (depending on the lunar calendar) to celebrate Chinese New Year, and one starting on 1 October to celebrate National Day.

The holidays were introduced in order to expand the domestic tourism market, improve the national standard of living and allow people to make long-distance family visits. And on that first measure, the Golden Weeks have succeeded, with more than 750 million trips made by Chinese citizens during the 2015 October Golden Week. With these kinds of numbers, scenes like the one below are not uncommon in China during these holidays.

china crowds

For the growing numbers of middle-class and well-off Chinese, escaping these massive crowds in China and going abroad for the week is a logical choice, with more than 4 million Chinese going abroad during the 2015 October break, and Australia being forecast as key destination for the upcoming October holiday.

Why in such a rush?

Whereas Australians are guaranteed 4 weeks annual paid leave and between 10 and 13 public holidays a year (for a total of at least 30 days leave), your average Chinese worker will only be entitled to between 5 and 10 days of leave a year, plus 11 public holidays (for a total of 16-21 days leave). As a result, holiday time is particularly valued by Chinese tourist – which explains why your Chinese guests will be trying to pack in as many activities as they can in their short time in Australia.

Need a hand developing your China strategy for the upcoming July/August school holidays and October Golden Week? Get in touch with China Ready Now to find out how to quickly capitalise on this opportunity!

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