Details of a new 10-year strategic plan aimed at realising China’s tourism potential has been unveiled at the inaugural Australia-China Tourism Summit in Cairns.
The China 2020 Strategic Plan, developed by Tourism Australia in consultation with industry and government stakeholders, aims to ensure Australian tourism remains competitive in the fast growing market for outbound travel from China.
Tourism Australia Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy said over the past decade Australia had experienced faster arrivals growth from China than any other tourism market.
“Since becoming the first western destination to be granted Approved Destination Status (ADS) for group leisure travel in 1999, Australia has seen tourism from China grow from strength to strength,” Mr McEvoy said.
“In 2010, China was Australia’s fourth largest source of visitor arrivals but also became the largest market in terms of economic value, worth $3.3 billion.
“The China 2020 Strategic Plan is about building on the strong foundations established during the first 12 years of Australia’s ADS, and industry involvement in China, to harness future tourism opportunities.
“By 2020 there will be around one billion outbound trips from China annually but with 140 countries also competing for market share we need to ensure Australia remains competitive.
“The plan identifies the key opportunities that will help Australia to win market share and grow the China travel market to as much as $9.5 billion in overnight expenditure and 860,000 visitors annually by 2020,” Mr McEvoy said.
Tourism Australia has identified the key opportunities from China to include: a growing upper and middle class; the emergence of the Free Independent Traveller (FIT) segment; growth in demand for Business Events; a strong digital and social media environment creating new media, advocacy and distribution channels; expansion of aviation capacity under the Air Service Agreement; and increased awareness of the China opportunity by governments and industry stakeholders.
Mr McEvoy said that while the outlook for travel from China to Australia continued to be positive, steps needed to be taken to meet the evolving and complex needs of the market.
“Australia has had a good head start but still needs a robust plan for the future that focuses on the trade, consumers, aviation access, partnerships and shifts in market opportunity,” Mr McEvoy said.
“We will be concentrating our efforts on understanding the Chinese consumer as their needs continue to change and the market matures.
“Our partnerships with airline and with industry and government are also vital to ensure we have the capacity to bring visitors here and that we give them the very best tourism experience on offer.
“Tourism Australia is currently active in 13 Chinese cities, with its consumer marketing effort concentrated on the five primary cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hangzhou,” Mr McEvoy said.
“The challenge becomes in a market of the size of China which cities do we expand to.
“In developing the China 2020 Strategic Plan we have undertaken an assessment of the potential of 600 Chinese cities, to determine an approach to our phased expansion in China.
“During the next three years we are looking to expand to as many as 24 cities, starting initially by engaging the trade who sell overseas holidays and longer term targeting consumers in these areas,” Mr McEvoy said.
The five critical areas to achieving China’s 2020 tourism potential and winning market share are:
– Building customer focus and knowledge so that Australia’s offering is competitively differentiated
– A geographic strategy to ensure effective use of resources
– Industry development to ensure industry is informed on the needs of Chinese visitors and can provide relevant and quality experiences
– Ease of access to ensure sustainable air services
– Strong partnerships to ensure strategic alignment across all levels of government and industry.
Today’s release of the China 2020 Strategic Plan follows the launch of the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential in November last year, which aims to double overnight expenditure for Australia’s tourism industry to as much as $140 billion by 2020. China is seen as a core market to delivering the targets for Australian tourism growth outlined in the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential.