AUSTRALIA is set to welcome back Chinese group tours, with our country earlier this week reincluded on the East Asian nation’s list of approved outgoing group travel destinations, Minister for Tourism Don Farrell has announced.
Oceania’s largest country has not been on China’s Approved Destination Status scheme since borders re-opened, with the re-addition welcome news for Australia’s tourism operators.
Prior to the pandemic, China was the largest and most valuable inbound traveller market for the Australian visitor economy.
More than 1.4 million annual Chinese vacationers spent $2.1 billion in Australia pre-pandemic, with about $581 million of this spending by ADS group travel participants.
“Australia remains a premium tourism destination for Chinese travellers, and we are looking forward to welcoming back group tours,” Farrell said.
“We know millions of prospective Chinese visitors are being inspired to ‘Come and Say G’day’, and we look forward to welcoming more of them to Australia as the ADS resumes.”
The announcement follows the recent launch in China of Tourism Australia’s successful $125 million ‘Come and Say G’Day’ campaign.
The campaign kicked off late last month, and is already proving to be a success, with the television commercial receiving over 66 million views across all channels.
“The return of Chinese group travellers is good news for the Australian tourism industry and will help to support our visitor economy’s ongoing recovery,” Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison said.
“Chinese travellers have been returning to Australia in growing numbers since the start of the year and the return of the group travel segment will provide another important boost.
“Underlying demand for an Australian holiday remains strong in China and Tourism Australia recently launched the global Come and Say G’day campaign in the market to encourage even more Chinese travellers to visit.”
Also welcoming back Chinese group visitation was the Tourism & Transport Fund, with Chief Executive Officer Margy Osmond saying the long-awaited announcement is a relief for tourism operators across Australia.
“Since borders reopened, Chinese visitors have been slow to return to Australia, with tourist numbers struggling to reach even half of pre-COVID levels,” she said.
“The drop in Chinese visitor numbers has had a significant impact on our industry, given China was our largest source market for international tourism before the pandemic.
“We’ve been working hard to try and entice more Chinese visitors to come to Australia, with mass campaigns like Tourism Australia’s Ruby the Roo, but the lack of guided tour groups has been a major barrier.”
Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) Managing Director Peter Shelley said there is a keen desire to welcome back Chinese travellers, with many of the country’s tourism businesses having focused on the ADS market.
“As the first western nation to be granted ADS back in 1999, Australian tourism has built a strong focus on this visitor market which is all about group leisure travel,” he said.
“As we move forward the re-engagement of the China market will be a boost to our tourism businesses, particularly as we enter the high season and Luna New Year in 2024.”
ATEC has also partnered with Destination NSW to offer tourism businesses free inbound training to attract Chinese visitors.
‘China Host’ modules will include “market & culture ready”, “product & service ready”, and “marketing & trade ready”.
The training is targeted at those new to attracting and servicing the China market, and those needing a refresher.
There are also training modules for the Indian market, as well as the accessible & inclusive market.