Australia targets high-end Chinese with new trade strategy
Tourism Australia is embarking upon a new distribution strategy in China, aimed at building a network of high-end, specialist travel agents.
Under the plan, Tourism Australia will work with a “targeted” group of travel agencies which are “committed to developing new and innovative Australian tourism products for Chinese travellers”.
Tourism Australia’s managing director, John O’Sullivan, said the move formed part of the country’s ‘Tourism 2020′ strategy, which is aimed at driving more affluent travellers from Australia’s fastest-growing inbound visitor source markets.
“We’re starting to see a big shift away from lower yielding group travel to more free and independent travel,” O’Sullivan said. “This is a lucrative market and one we’re targeting through our marketing activities within China.
“The logical next step is to look at distribution, and how this too can be improved to better reach target these independent minded travellers,” he added.
Tourism Australia launched a major FIT tourism campaign in China in March 2014, but O’Sullivan noted that the vast majority of overseas travel from China is still booked via travel agencies.
“Alongside the work we’re already doing to increase flights and improve aviation access, we see an equally important role for travel agents to provide this new breed of independent Chinese traveller with the information and resources to build a much richer and higher quality holiday experience,” he said.
Australia’s national tourism organisation now aims to sign up between 30 and 35 specialist agents in the first year, based primarily in the ‘Tier 1′ cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, plus a selection of ‘Tier 2′ cities, including Nanjing, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Chengdu and Chongqing.
The new distribution strategy will be backed by increased advertising, along with new itineraries and programmes, and supported by Tourism Australia’s Chinese website, australia.cn
China is Australia’s fastest growing and most valuable inbound tourism market, contributing more than 750,000 visitor arrivals and AU$5 billion (US$4.7bn) in tourism receipts in the past 12 months. But Australia forecasts that annual spending by Chinese visitors could reach AU$13bn by 2020.
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