Weekly Round-Up (26 September)

Welcome to this week’s China Ready Now Round-Up.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about regional tourism, and how Australia can become a sustainable destination choice for the next generation of middle-class Chinese tourists. You see, Australia has a problem – most of our Chinese visitors don’t end up seeing more than Sydney and Melbourne. Yes, both cities are great – but Australia has so much more to offer! And hotels in both cities are already close to capacity for the upcoming Chinese New Year – which happens to clash with our own summer holidays and the Australian Open.

I’m not alone in pondering this conundrum. Last week, Professor Wolfgang Georg Arlt of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute noted that half of the 64 million border crossings made by Chinese in the first half of 2016 were to destinations beyond Greater China. Unfortunately, many of those 32 million trips by Chinese were to tourism mega cities like Sydney, Tokyo, Bangkok, New York or Paris.

In the case of Australia, Professor Arlt observed, “78% of all Chinese arrivals stayed in the main destinations, even though they were not bound to any itinerary, as they were not traveling with an organised group.” This is in stark contrast to Australia’s other major international markets. For instance, only 55% of arrivals from the United States restrict their visits to our main destinations, while the figure is even lower for our UK visitors – just 44%.

So, how can regional destinations attract more Chinese visitors? As Canberra Airport showed last week, having international flights can help – over one third of the passengers on the first international flight to Canberra in a decade were Chinese. But for many regional destinations, international flights are not a practical solution. What are some practical solutions you ask? Well, you’ll have to read this week’s article to find out!

Regional destinations have a great opportunity, and an important role to play, in making Australia a sustainable destination choice for China’s growing middle-class. We want to help – so if you’re a regional tourism operator that wants succeed in attracting Chinese visitors, get in touch with us for a free consultation.

Australian focus:

  • Chinese tourists show appetite for Canberra: The first international flight in more than a decade arrived at Canberra Airport last Wednesday, and over one third of the 260 passengers were Chinese. Singapore Airlines will be flying to Canberra three times a week, boosting the capital’s international visitor intake substantially.
  • WA falling behind in Chinese tourist visits: Although “staycationers” saw WA exceed 10 million overnight tourists for the first time, it’s share of the Chinese market fell for the second year in a row. Only 47,800 or 4.5% of the 1.1 million Chinese who visited Australia in the last financial year made it to Western Australia.
  • 80% of Australian merchants now accepting UnionPay: With all 4 major banks now accepting UnionPay, Chinese tourists can finally pay with their preferred method at the vast majority of Australian merchants. Australia also has the largest number of mobile QuickPass-accepting terminals outside of mainland China.

International focus:

  • Countries Want Chinese Tourists–Just Not All In The Same Place: Chinese outbound travelers continue to be the main driving force for the growth of international tourism, but the concentration of visitors in a limited number of places is increasingly creating a number of problems. Consequently, the “dispersion” of tourists has emerged as one of the most hotly debated topics in the tourism industry.
  • Safety First: Can Europe Bounce Back From Its Lull in Chinese Tourists?: Safety has become a front and center issue for Chinese tourists this year, and European destinations have felt the effect. About half of the Chinese tourists planning to head there this summer canceled their trips.
  • Singles’ Day is Coming – Are you ready?: Singles’ Day is China’s annual shopping holiday that takes place on 11 November. Last year, this special shopping day generated US$14 billion worth of sales for Alibaba. Who knows how big it will be this year – but tourism operators should be thinking how they can get involved.
  • From Leapfrog to Leader: Mobile Dominates China’s Fast-Growing Travel Marketplace: M-commerce is taking over the China travel market faster than anywhere else in the world. Half of the country’s online travel purchases will move via apps and mobile web in 2016, the highest rate of mobile penetration around.

That’s all for this week’s Round-Up. For more updates during the week on Chinese tourism trends, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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