Lucy MacDonald Connolly & Ruoxin Zhou
- China’s economy causes sudden drop in Chinese tourism to Australia
- Popular Chinese programme predicted to drastically increase Chinese tourism in Western Australia with a potential advertisement gift of $500million
- Understanding the Chinese market is key for Australian businesses to re-capture Chinese interest
Image Source: The cast of Viva La Romance in Western Australia. Weibo, Account name: Viva La Romance
Australia has fallen from the second most popular destination Chinese tourists visit to the fourth, according to figures from a recent UBS report. The weakening Chinese economy paired with the China – U.S trade war has led to a decline in Chinese tourists visiting Australia that many fear will only get worse. Now more than ever, Australian businesses will greatly benefit from understanding how to market towards the Chinese. Creative promotion of destinations that have been mostly undiscovered by Chinese tourists has been proven to re- capture Chinese interest in Australia as the ultimate travel destination.
Western Australia utilises Chinese tourists to boost the tourism industry
According to Budget Direct, Chinese tourists, the number one inbound visitor to Australia, spent roughly £10.4 billion AUD in 2017. Yet, Western Australia was reaping far less benefits gaining $271 million through their mere 57,000 yearly Chinese visitors in 2017. To build upon an already existing Chinese presence, tourism Minister Paul Papalia worked with the Shanghai Trade Office to secure Western Australia as a film location for season two of Viva le Romance in hopes to fulfil Western Australia Tourism’s goal of doubling Chinese visitor numbers by 2020. The reality show centres around some of China’s most famous women, including one of the countries most recognised personalities Zhang Ziyi, as they embark on romantic journeys around the world. As a state that is often bypassed by tourists for more iconic destinations such as Sydney, the show has provided excellent exposure of Western Australia to the shows 1.8 billion viewers per season, according to Mango TV. The West Australia predicts that Viva La Romance will potentially bring in $500 million AUD to the state by increasing tourism.
High spending Chinese tourists can be lured to other Australian destinations
Statistics from Mango TV demonstrate that the show is primarily watched by young, urban, educated women who make up China’s highest spend demographic. Millennial Chinese tourists have the potential to bring in big money to local industries as they make up China’s highest spend demographic according to The China Luxury Report 2019. Businesses in Western Australia must prepare to sell their local specialities, such as wine and seafood, that appeal to the Chinese market.
The program, which aired in March earlier this year, showed the Chinese actresses parachuting in Rottnest Island, visiting the Busselton Jetty and even swimming with dolphins. This successfully showcased the beauty of Western Australia to potential Chinese tourists. Such imagery greatly appeals to the market for the Chinese wanting to escape their overcrowded cities for open air, natural landscapes which can be found in abundance not only in Western Australia but all over the country. Seemingly unaffected by China’s weakened economy, millennial Chinese have no reason not to visit Australia. Many other less visited locations of Australia can follow Western Australia’s example and exploit this need for open landscapes.
Using KOLs to entice potential Chinese tourists
Having a famous Chinese programme filmed in an Australian location is not a necessity, a far simpler method can be used. The use of China’s Key Opinion Leaders (KOL’s) social media presence could potentially lead to the exposure of lesser known locations to millions of people. The high population of China leads to huge potential for content exposure with the star of Viva le Romance Zhang Ziyi having 28,000,000 followers on Weibo, one of China’s leading social medias. Due to Chinese influencers having the trust of their followers, any KOL promotion of Australian locations has the potential to attract millions of tourists. It is important that Australian businesses are educated on Chinas social media platforms due to the potential for the business these platforms can unlock. Travel KOLs share detailed information on their travelling experiences, from their hotels to dining reviews, on Chinese social media apps such as Little Red Book. Photos of these KOLs in the scenic landscapes of Australia, as well as paid reviews of specific travel experiences on their social medias will generate great exposure of Australia to potential visitors.
The success of Western Australia has created opportunities for other lesser known locations across the country to increase their tourism through appealing to the Chinese.Through creative marketing strategies that utilise Chinese KOL’s, Australia has the chance to climb itself back up the list of favourite Chinese travel destinations.