Welcome to this week’s China Ready Now Round-Up.
Last night I was extremely fortunate to attend the opening ceremony of the China-Australia Year of Tourism (CAYOT) at the Sydney Opera House. And what a treat it was! The highlight of the event was the world-class Chinese concert performed by the Chinese Music Orchestra, replete with numerous solo performances of traditional Chinese instruments.
Of course, the opening ceremony was not just about the performances. Government officials from both countries spoke of the importance of the Australia-China relationship, particularly in a tourism context. To read the joint statement released by Steven Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Dr Li Jinzao, Chairman of the China National, click here. There is much optimism from both Australia’s and China’s governments for CAYOT, and the articles in this week’s Round-Up reflect that sentiment.
One thing that struck me from last night’s event was the huge push by the Chinese government to encourage more Australians to visit China. And I think this is particularly important for anyone in the Australian tourism industry. You can read my updates, the articles contained within and interact regularly with Chinese tourists, but nothing will help you understand China more than a first-hand visit there. And with an ever-increasing number of direct flights between the two countries, I don’t think it has ever been cheaper to visit!
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We hope you enjoy this week’s Round-Up.
Australia and New Zealand focus:
- Australia now makes more from tourism than exporting coal: Australia now makes more money selling tourism services to foreigners than it makes from exporting coal, and that is largely thanks to Asian tourists. Annualised tourism exports of $47 billion, based on September quarter figures, were greater than those two stalwarts, rural exports at $42 billion and coal at $41 billion.
- China’s tourism infatuation with Australia is a long-term affair: China’s love affair with Australia will not end in tears like the Japanese tourist boom did in the early 1990s. On the eve of the launch of the China-Australia Year of Tourism, industry officials have moved to allay fears of a repeat of the Japanese experience that sent many operators to the wall. See also Is Australia prepared for China-Australia Year of Tourism (CAYOT) 2017?
- Chinese businessman Jack Ma reveals what China really wants from Australia: China’s second richest man, Jack Ma, who is the founder of online retail giant Alibaba, said at the opening of the first Australian and New Zealand branch of his company in Melbourne that Australia had something “unique” that China was willing to spend big bucks on. Ma’s answer is great news for tourism operators…
- Australia generating interest on Chinese social media: Australia has been recognised as the destination that has generated the most interest on Chinese social media at an awards ceremony last month hosted by Chinese microblogging site Weibo and video hosting service Youku.
- 5 New Travel Startups From China That Challenge the Status Quo: Chinese travel startups are innovating, not cloning, these days. For instance, Zanadu is using virtual reality to sell luxury travel in real world shops, while Baoku is bringing integrated workflows to corporate travel planners. See also VR travel is the new marketing strategy
- Surge in Chinese tourists take in Israel’s rich history and culture: 76,400 Chinese tourists went to Israel between January and November last year, a massive 60% increase from 2015. Like Australia, Israel now has direct flight routes and 10-year visas for Chinese tourists, key contributors to this growth.
- Average Chinese Tourist Spending is Declining, But It’s Not All Bad News: Destinations as diverse as the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan all saw the average expenditure for Chinese tourists decline in 2016—and the same trend echoes true across many short-haul and long-haul destinations frequented by Chinese tourists. While this development may seem concerning for tourism stakeholders around the world, it’s perhaps better perceived as a sign of China becoming a more mature tourism source market.