Monday, January 13, 2014

Chinese tourism turbulence

The news on todays data dump from ABS was mostly dominated by housing finance but it was tourism arrivals and departures which may be more relevant for FNQ. While overall arrivals were quite sound a trend decline in arrivals from China has attracted some interest.

Conus has posted a detailed analysis of this: Chinese visitor numbers fall again
"Arrivals from China were down (to 51,600), for the third consecutive month (after revisions), and stood at their lowest monthly level since May 2012........."
A search has thrown up a media release from the Tourism and Transport Forum with some explanation for this with reforms in China likely to increase the price of packaged tours:

As of October 1, 2013, a new ‘China Tourism Law’ came into effect which applies to all tourism operators in China for domestic and international travel and contains a number of provisions designed to protect consumers and address concerns around low-quality shopping tours. The reforms are intended to improve the overall experience for Chinese tour visitors, including access to a broader range of retailers, attractions and locations, as well as protecting the privacy and consumer rights of Chinese travellers
NB: This is a change to Chinese law which applies across the board – not just to Australia – and is designed to lift the quality of Chinese tour operators’ product.

Here is a link to Tourism Australia’s website, which explains Australia’s response to these changes:

I'm not sure that is a full explanation as some weakness was evident prior to October. This may be something to watch in coming months particularly as we are now in peak season with Chinese New Year at the end of the month. I'm also not sure what the current status is of seasonal direct flights from China to Cairns?

Elsewhere there were some strong numbers out of Malaysia and India, while the Barmy Army also made a contribution! Aviation capacity was also referenced as a key driver of growth by TTF.

Update: Also a twitter pic posted today by @David_Scutt. I haven't done any downloads  from ABS to check this but the recent China decline is apparent although there was also a spike immediately prior?

Update with graphs from MacroBusiness: Where'd the Chinese tourists go?

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