Welcome to this week’s China Ready Now Round-Up.
Last week, a new record was reached in the number of international visitors to Australia – over 8 million people from overseas entered Australia in the 12 months to September. Five countries have seen growth rates greater than 20%, and all of them were Asian markets. The biggest growth market of course was China (growth of 21%), but visitor numbers from Japan (20%), Korea (28%), Taiwan (27%) and Vietnam (21%) are increasing rapidly, reflecting the changing face of Australian tourism. The Federal Government has been doing a lot to support the tourism industry, and the latest numbers reflect their hard work.
With more Asian visitors (particularly Chinese) coming to Australia, some smart travel companies are starting to tweak their strategies to suit this trend. This week I read of efforts being made by some Tasmanian operators to improve their China-readiness. Steps taken include catering for the Chinese habit of sharing meals, accepting mobile payment and getting set up with WeChat accounts. None of these steps are particularly hard to implement, but go a long way to signal to Chinese tourists that they are welcome.
Internationally, hotel chains such as Marriott, Hilton and Starwood are leading the way. For an in-depth look at the measures being implemented by Marriott, have a read of this article. Plenty of food for thought for Australian tourism operators, particularly pertinent given this recent HSBC report. To find out how your business can implement some Chinese-friendly features in an affordable and convenient way, get in touch with us for a free consultation.
We hope you enjoy this week’s Round-Up.
- Australian eyes on Chinese trade fortune: A HSBC report argues that Australia has to compete more ferociously to retain the services dollar as China shifts its economy towards consumption-led growth. The report notes that Australia’s growth prospects are now much more tied to the financial health of the Chinese consumer.
- Trump & China: The Monkey King: While most believe the election of Trump will have a negative effect on US-China trade relations, this article by Tom Parker finds a silver lining for Australia. He argues that our FTA with China is a golden ticket for Australian industries to leap frog American competitors.
- $250 million redevelopment of Sydney Fish Market announced: The government’s move to build a brand new site for the iconic markets is aimed at doubling visitors to one of the city’s top attractions from 3 million to 6 million a year. 95% of visitors to the market who come by tour bus are Chinese.
- What does Tasmania need to do to build on Chinese tourist numbers? Tasmania has a lot to offer — from natural beauty to excellent food and wine — but some changes may need to be made to encourage more Chinese tourists to visit, say three local operators who recently returned from China.
- Ctrip rewards “civilized tourists” with special prize trip: “Launched in October by Ctrip, the ‘Excellent Chinese Tourists Fund’ aims to reward tourists who serve as role models for others, and promote the idea of civilized tourism among Chinese travelers.”
- China National Travel Service to launch 50b yuan investment fund for global acquisitions: CNTS Group, China’s largest tourism conglomerate, plans to launch a 50 billion yuan investment fund for travel businesses, part of efforts to diversify into the finance sector amid fierce competition brought on by booming online travel agencies.
- Alibaba Tops Singles’ Day Record as Chinese Consumers Rally: Alibaba broke its Singles’ Day sales record with room to spare, offering assurances about the strength of the Chinese consumer despite the nation’s economic slowdown. One-day sales reached $17.79 billion, easily beating 2015’s $14.3 billion.