Welcome to this week’s China Ready Round-Up.
Last week, the South China Morning Post noted that in the wake of violent terrorism attacks in western Europe, Chinese tourists are choosing to holiday elsewhere. In France, the number of visas issued to Chinese has dropped 15% in the first six months of this year compared to 2015, and it is likely this will continue. In 2015, France was 3rd on the list of wishlist destinations of Chinese travellers. This year it has fallen to 9th place. This week there were also reports of Chinese tourists being teargassed and robbed as they head to Paris’s airport.
This highlights one the number one concern for Chinese tourists when heading abroad – safety.
The focus on safety is also evident with the lack of Chinese tourists heading to Rio for the Olympic Games. According to China Daily, less than 3,000 Chinese will visit the Brazilian city for this month’s Olympics. While distance and cost may be significant barriers for many Chinese visitors, security concerns are largely to blame. And that’s not surprising – there are already reports that Chinese athletes and officials have been targets of robberies. China’s foreign ministry has told its citizens to exercise caution and to leave their jewellery, watches, backpacks and mobile phones at their hotel. Leave their phones at the hotel? That’s crazy talk to most Chinese tourists, who want to share their experiences instantaneously via social media with their friends and family back home.
Fortunately for Australia, our tourism industry does not have to deal with these types of concerns. The greatest worry Chinese have when they come to Australia is that they might be attacked by a shark. While the chances of such an attack are extremely unlikely, this highlights the importance of emphasising safety in all activities.
Sharks aside, Australia’s tourism industry could see an even greater percentage of Chinese tourists choosing to come here than previously forecast, given events abroad and our reputation as a safe destination. Australian tourism businesses need to be ready for them – and we can help!
- Tourism to Australia is hitting record highs, especially from China: The latest arrival statistics, released on Thursday, show that 1.389 million Chinese visitors graced Australia’s shores in the last 12 months, well ahead of second-placed New Zealand with 1.322 million. Chinese arrivals have increased 22% over the last year.
- Chinese tourists turned off by Australian shark attacks despite Gold Coast’s safe waters: In a poll of 500 tourists from Australia’s biggest international markets – China, New Zealand, the US, UK and Japan – Chinese tourists were the most scared of being attacked by a shark, with 23% seriously doubting having an Australian holiday.
- Luxury retailing is exploding in Australia thanks to China: The demand for Swiss watches, lavish handbags and designer clothing has pushed growth in luxury retailing to 11% a year over the five years to 2016-17 to reach $1.8 billion, with a significant portion of that growth attributable to Asian tourists, particularly Chinese.
- Adelaide falling short on Chinese tourism expectations: Adelaide tourism operators are missing out on high-spending Chinese visitors due to “traditional, structurally challenged” communications and use of platforms not accessed by the young arrivals, a report has found.
- Sports travel sluggish but gathering pace across the country: China’s investments in overseas soccer and basketball teams may be on the rise, but it will be some time before the Chinese people begin to travel abroad in large numbers to watch big sporting events. Currently, the share of sports travel in China’s overall tourism market is just 5% or 170 billion yuan. In developed countries, the corresponding figure is usually 25%.
- Chinese tourists shun western Europe in wake of violence as travel to France drops 15 per cent: French embassy in Beijing issues fewer visas, with mainland travellers looking to other places for a holiday.
- Pardon your French: Chinese tourists and a clash of cultures in Paris: As Paris becomes a hot spot for Chinese tourism, cultural tensions arise between tourists and locals.
- Chinese Platforms Overtake U.S. Sites for Luxury Hotel Reviews: Ctrip is now the 3rd most popular platform worldwide for luxury travellers to leave reviews, while eLong is in 4th place and Dianping in 10th. With over 30% of online reviews now being made in Chinese, hotels need to make sure they’re checking what’s being said about them.