According to the China Tourism Academy, Australia was one of the top 5 favorite destinations of Chinese tourist. The country was however lagging behind New Zealand, USA and Canada.
Here are the reasons why Australia attracted fewer tourists than other countries:
The country is more appealing to Chinese tourists…
According to a study conducted by Hotels.com, Australia reached the top five most desired destinations by Chinese tourists for 2015. This means that Chinese would rather go to Australia than to visit France, New Zealand, the USA and Switzerland.
Australia is indeed a perfect destination for Chinese tourists, since it has everything they are looking for. The country is a safe place to travel to, it has got historical touristic sites and is also well-known for its gastronomy. A research conducted by the Australian government, showed that Australia met the expectations of Chinese tourists through several points, such as: the friendliness of the locals, the natural attractions (beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, dolphin and whale watching…).
The country therefore saw a rise in the number of Chinese tourists coming to visit Australia with 12.2% more visitors than in 2013.
But attracts them less than most other countries that are also favorite destinations
As the Chinese tourists were 12.2% more to visit Australia, they were 30% more to visit Canada and 23% more to visit the USA. The country indeed ranks at the 11th most visited destination by Chinese tourists, despite the fact that it is at the top of their wish lists. In fact The USA, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, France, the UK, Italy, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia were all better ranked than Australia.
What Australia could improve to attract more Chinese tourists:
The survey conducted by Tourism Research Australia found that satisfaction levels of the Chinese tourists visiting Australia were the lowest for shopping (51%) and for value for money (at 57%). 16% of the Chinese tourists surveyed even said they were dissatisfied with shopping while 12% were dissatisfied with the value for money.
However, according to estimates from the Chinese ministry of Commerce 116 million of Chinese prefer shopping abroad and Chinese outbound tourists spent 155 billion dollars abroad in 2014. Chinese tourist abroad are usually spending an average of 1300 dollars per purchase abroad. This is why it is very important for Australia to make sure Chinese tourists have a better purchase experience while visiting their country. To do so, the country’s luxury shops and shopping malls willing to welcome Chinese tourists should make sure to have mandarin-speaking staff and payment facilities that are allowing Chinese tourists to pays with their Chinese credit cards.
Accessibility is the key to enable Chinese tourists to visit a country. Infrastructures and visa facilities should therefore be as practical as possible in order to provide an easy access to Chinese tourists.
However a Chinese applying to get an Australian visa has to pay $130, and fill in a 15-page paper application in English and wait 15 days to receive the visa. While Chinese tourists willing to visit the US, the UK or Hong Kong only have to complete a quick online form, pay $20 and they will receive an electronic visa. Australia clearly has a competitiveness issue on its visa system compared to other countries. This is why the country needs to reform their visa system in order to attract more Chinese tourists.
Australia spent 200 million dollars in advertising for its tourism destinations in 2013. A record breaking expenditure for the country, and most of it went to the Chinese market. The country should however give the priority to the online part in its advertising campaigns in order to reach their target of tourists. 80% of the Chinese tourists are indeed planning their trip and looking for information online. Australia therefore needs to make sure its websites are well positionned on tourism keywords most used by netizens in China.
To do so the country would have to implement SEO or SEM campaigns on Baidu, the leading search engine in China. SEO/SEM will increases the destination visibility and put forward all the wonderful features and adventures the country has to offer. This can definitely tip the edge in its favor.
Since 90% of the 634 million Internet users in China are using social networks, the country should take advantage of Chinese’s love for these platforms.
To do so it has to be more present on Chinese social networks by creating online communities to broadcast its marketing campaigns. In order to boost their e-reputation Australian tourism professional should partner with selected influent online personality such as a celebrity or a Key Opinion Leader specialized in Tourism. Influential people involved in a marketing campaign is a much more effective tool to attracting Chinese than when you target western customers. This is because Chinese rely more heavily on user experience and other opinion to choose. The more reputable the person is, the more weight that person’s word will have.
The place to measure the effect of such a phenomenon would be on weibo where you have the size of the influencer’s community that are in the hundred thousands or even millions. You can get to those users very easily via this medium.
Once these steps undertaken, there is very little doubt that Australia will quickly catch up in the battle to attracting Chinese tourists!
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