Weekly Round-Up (27 June 2016)

Welcome to this week’s China Ready Round-Up, highlighting all the exciting news happening in the Chinese outbound tourism space, within Australia and abroad. This week – risks of a decrease in Chinese tourist arrivals due to Great Barrier Reef bleaching, Virgin’s plans for direct China flights approved and more calls for cutting the cost of Australian visas for Chinese tourists. Let’s get into it!

Australian articles

  • Great Barrier Reef: tourists will go elsewhere if bleaching continues: An estimated $1bn a year and up to 10,000 jobs in regional Queensland could be at risk if the bleaching continues on the Great Barrier Reef. 63% of Chinese tourists, and about a third of UK and US tourists, said if severe bleaching continues, and “some of the reef dies completely,” they would be more likely to visit somewhere other than Australia. The full report is available here. (Guardian Australia)
  • Virgin to fly direct to China by June 2017: The International Air Services Commission (IASC) recently granted Virgin Australia permission to launch new services between Australia and China. The IASC approved Virgin’s request for 1,925 seats a week of capacity to China and seven flights a week to Hong Kong. The services are to be utilised by no later than June 1 2017. The announcement comes on the back of Virgin’s new venture with China’s HNA group. (Australian Aviation)
  • Why Australian visas for Chinese travellers need to be cheaper: The Tourism and Transport Forum has called for cuts to the visa prices charged to Chinese tourists visiting Australia. Chinese tourists pay $190 to visit Australia ($135 for the visa and $55 for a “holiday tax” on arrival), whereas US visitors pay just $20 and Brits pay nothing – and this is despite the Chinese market being the most lucrative for Australia. Australia will lose market share to other countries who charge much less, such as Korea ($54), Japan ($40) and European nations ($90) unless something changes. (SMH)
  • Australia extends automated border clearance to Chinese visitors: While visa costs may be not fair for Chinese tourists, at least some Chinese can now get into Australia faster by using the “smart gate” system, which opened up access to certain eligible Chinese arrivals from last week. (Xinhua)

Global articles

  • Chinese tourists to spend over $45 billion in Asia-Pacific region for 2016: Chinese visitors are expected to make up 15.7% of the market for tourism in the Asia-Pacific, translating to approximately 50.4 million visitors in 2016. According to the MasterCard Asia-Pacific Destinations Index, Chinese travelers are predicted to spend up to US$45.3 billion in Asia-Pacific destinations, about 18% of total tourist expenditure. The index also showed that Chinese tourists will throng Bangkok in 2016, with an expected 8.2 million visitors to enter the city this year. Seoul, Tokyo, Phuket, Pattaya, Osaka and Singapore are also preferred destinations for the Chinese. (Asia Correspondent)
  • China Eastern Airlines Launches Its First Direct Flight to Central Europe: Direct flights between Shanghai and Prague will occur 3 times a week, allowing for a total of 65,000 passengers to be transported on the route each year. Prague is increasingly popular with Chinese tourists, with numbers increasing by 36% in 2015. (The Financial)
  • Outbound travelers shrug off declines in yuan value: The yuan fell to the lowest level against the US dollar in five years last Friday, with $1 US dollar now worth 6.58 yuan. Experts, however, do not expect the descent to hurt the market for outbound trips of Chinese tourists, with the big-ticket items (such as airfares) all being priced in Chinese travellers’ plans many months ago. Purchasing power may weaken somewhat when Chinese tourists are shopping abroad. (China.org.cn)
  • More Chinese visitors in May than Aussies: The number of holidaying Chinese visitors has topped the number of Australian tourists in New Zealand for just the second time ever. Statistics NZ figures show New Zealand welcomed 193,600 visitors in May, a new record for the month and 10% more than the same month in 2015. (Newshub)
  • China set to launch tourism cruises to Spratly Islands: What better place to go on a luxury cruise vacation than disputed territories? (Al Jazeera)

Quick Stats

  • Chinese tourists pay $190 to visit Australia, compared to $20 for US visitors and $0 for British arrivals (link)
  • 6th: Ranking of China as a contributor of tourists to the Asia Pacific region in 2009 (a 5.8% share of total Asia Pacific international overnight arrivals)
  • 1st: Ranking of China as a contributor of tourists to the Asia Pacific region in 2015 (a 15.7% share of total Asia Pacific international overnight arrivals) (link)

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