Friday, November 18, 2011

Behind the Chinese tourism boom

Jack Carlsen from Curtin University has an interesting take on inbound Chinese visitor numbers at The Converation: The real story behind the "boom" in Chinese tourism to Australia.

The Chinese outbound travel market comprises only about 10% of the total population of China, mainly those residing in the major provinces and wealthy enough to travel overseas. Of those 130 million wealthy Chinese, about 40 million travel overseas annually, of which Australia’s share is 400,000, or about 1%. That is on par with Australia’s share of all international travellers, so it appears that we are “holding our own” in terms of global market share.
However, there are inherent difficulties in targeting market share as an indicator of success, as we cannot control for the actions of our competitors, who are also aggressively targeting the Chinese market, mainly the 100 ADS countries.
The United States, for example, has allocated $50 million for tourism marketing in China and countries like Japan, Korea and Singapore are already attracting Chinese visitors. It may be that other ADS countries are better placed to meet the specific needs of Chinese travellers, particularly those that are price competitive, have more favourable exchange rates, better shopping or a more substantial Chinese diaspora population.
Carlsen goes on to comment on market segmentation of Chinese visitors with a younger demographic for educational purposes being prominent. We have previously commented here on issuess related to educational exports and visas.
The main destinations for all segments are the gateway cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide (where most education centres and our Australian Chinese population are located), with the regions receiving only 7% of Chinese arrivals in 2010.
There is also comment on Chinese tourism and cheaper price sensitive package tours. Some can recall when similar problems and issues were voiced about Japanese tourists.

Meanwhile at BusinessSpectator Gary Livermore of trading group Source Co has some interesting comments on shared aspects of Australian and Chinese culture which gives us an advantage over the USA:

Livermore explains that sharing that sense of humour means that we have an advantage in selling tourism, wine and a whole range of services including legal, accounting and management. There are many more opportunities opening up.

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