Increasing numbers of visitors from China is neither inevitable nor guaranteed, said Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy who has cautioned as the agency moves into the second year of its 10-year strategy to grow demand from its fastest growing overseas market.
McEvoy said China’s growing importance was at the heart of Tourism Australia’s decision to unveil the latest phase of its There’s nothing like Australia global marketing campaign in Shanghai earlier this month, and to increase marketing resourcing in China by 41 per cent in 2012/13.
“The increase in resources simply reflects the size and scale of the outbound travel opportunity presented by China. China is now our fastest growing and the most valuable overseas tourism market, delivering more than half a million-plus visitors and A$3.8 billion in spending in 2011,” McEvoy said.
Tourism Australia’s China 2020 Strategic Plan is a core element in the Government’s Tourism 2020 strategy, aimed at doubling overnight visitor expenditure to up to A$140 billion by 2020. Tourism Australia believes the China market has the potential to be worth up to A$9 billion alone, by the end of the decade.
McEvoy said he believes its China ambitions will be significantly aided through the new Asia Marketing Fund, announced by the Australian Government in the recent 2012/13 Budget. This will deliver an additional A$61 million to Tourism Australia’s budget over the next four years, helping to accelerate its development plans in China. But he explained that reaping the benefits of the ‘Asian Century’ requires more than just additional resources and good marketing campaigns.
“We know from our research that our global campaign resonates extremely well in China but, whilst this is great, it’s only part of the equation. You can build all the demand you want through compelling ads, but if the actual experience fails to deliver on the promise, you end up doing more harm than good.
McEvoy added that being ‘China ready’ was critical if the industry is to fully leverage Australia’s destination appeal amongst China’s new urban elite.
“The fact that 542,000 Chinese travellers visited our country last year is fantastic, but certainly no reason to feel the job is done. If we’re not fully prepared, the Asian Centurywill pass us by. The great news is that we’re starting to see the industry really embrace this opportunity by adapting their business to meet the needs of Chinese visitors,” he said.
More details on the China 2020 Tourism Strategy are available by clicking here.