In Australia, Chinese tourists prefer casinos to koalas…

FORGET cuddly koalas and idyllic beaches – Australia should be marketing shopping centres, wine tasting and casinos to Chinese tourists, according to international experts.

Tourism operators should also be creating experiences which offer “bragging rights” for tourists from China, which is the fastest-growing market for Australia, and remember their strong gift giving culture.

Chinese outbound tourism expert Pierre Gervois, from Hong Kong-based China Elite Focus, said going abroad was wealthy Chinese people’s favourite leisure activity, with 55 million travelling overseas last year.

He said rich Chinese tourists were rejecting group tours and wanted to shop, visit casinos, play golf and drink wine.

They are also interested in activities such as boating and yachting, hunting, horse races and polo.

Mr Gervois said he was surprised to find that Australia was very well-known among Chinese people for its wine.

“Sometimes you see Australian tourism operators trying to promote activities such as surfing and trekking but this is not what interests Chinese tourists,” he said.

“Chinese tourists also say to us ‘why should we go to Australia to see nice landscapes because China has so many provinces with beautiful natural scenery and animals?’

“The first thing they want to do is go to a big shopping mall and buy gifts for all their family.

“After that if they have one day left maybe they will be interested to discover the nature and wildlife.”

While it is illegal to promote gambling in China, Mr Gervois said their second favourite activity was “entertainment” – or casinos.

Earlier this year Australia’s highest-profile billionaire and owner of Melbourne’s Crown Casino James Packer suggested Australia should look at destinations such as Singapore and Macau, which had attracted middle-class Asian tourists with “integrated resorts”, which feature casinos.

Daniel Levine, from New York-based global trends consultancy Avant-Guide Institute, said Australia was focusing more on signage, translators and serving Chinese food at breakfast, but we also need to connect on an emotional level.

Mr Levine, who attended the Tourism and Events Excellence conference in Melbourne earlier this year, said Chinese tourists were very brand and status conscious and liked to give gifts.

“They want to signal to others that they can afford luxury products and experiences,” he said.

“You need to deliver products in a way that enables Chinese tourists to brag about it back home.”

But Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said Australia needed to differentiate itself from Europe and the United States and its lifestyle and natural environment were very appealing to Chinese tourists, as well as its optimistic, young cities.

“Australia’s animals are a differentiating point,” he said.

Mr McEvoy has travelled to Asia several times in the past two years and spoken to dozens of travel agents there.

“I would argue that Australian shopping comparatively wouldn’t be the equal of Europe or the US but agents say Melbourne and Sydney certainly do the job – the prestige brands are there.

“They said we are equal to the US when it comes to gambling.”

He said the relaunch of Sydney’s The Star casino complex would further strengthen Australia’s position, with high quality live entertainment, 24 world class restaurants and great shopping.

Luxury brand boom anticipated as wealthy Chinese tourists head to UK for Chinese New Year

Luxury stores are preparing for thousands of wealthy Far Eastern shoppers to coincide with the start of the Chinese Year of the Dragon.
The easing of travel restrictions in China means the turn of the year has become a time for international travel and shopping for the country’s elite.
They will be looking for British brands such as Burberry and Mulberry, and international brands such as Prada and Gucci.
Spending by Chinese tourists in UK stores rose by 64 per cent last year, say retail analysts Global Blue, and totalled £165million.
Bond Street shops have hired Mandarin-speaking staff while Harrods has installed 75 tills for Chinese shoppers and the UnionPay card, which is China’s only domestic debit and credit card.
And yesterday, the store unveiled commemorative investment gold bars, each incorporating an Oriental Dragon, in a bid to appeal to the tourists.
Richard Brown of Global Blue said: ‘Chinese New Year reflects an important cultural shift in China with families now travelling abroad as an alternative to celebrations at home.’
‘Retailers are bracing themselves for a significant uplift in Chinese shoppers and hope to repeat staggering growth.
‘Luxury brands are set to benefit the most from this uplift, with Chinese shoppers spending on average £729 per tax free transaction favouring handbags, jewellery and watches.’
Mark Di-Toro, from VisitBritain, said: ‘The first half of 2011 witnessed a record high in outbound tourism from China. The UK is already benefitting from these high spending visitors who are coming to Britain to shop in their droves.

‘In the West End, Chinese shoppers are reported to spend an average £1,310 during a trip with half of Burberry’s sales in London coming courtesy of Chinese tourists.’
Burberry benefits from the fact that the Duchess of Cambridge has been seen wearing a number of the brand’s trademark coats.
Gordon Innes, chief executive of London & Partners, the capital’s official promotional organisation, said: ‘With its large population, strong economic growth and growing social mobility, China is viewed as a lucrative tourism prospect.
‘In the year ending September 2011 visitor arrivals increased by about 40per cent with the average stay length among Chinese visitors  twice the average of all overseas tourist  – making them prodigious spenders.’

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President Obama’s travel initiative will increase the number of affluent Chinese tourists spending money in the U.S.

Acknowledging the prominent role of the travel and tourism sector in creating jobs and powering the economy, President Obama announced that he has issued an Executive Order aimed at boosting travel and tourism during an event in Orlando, Florida.

The President announced an initiative focusing on improving travel facilitation by coordinating activity among the Department of Commerce, Department of State, and Department of Homeland Security. To achieve this, the President has directed the Department of Commerce to create a task force to develop a “National Travel & Tourism Strategy.” The task force will coordinate cross-departmental efforts and ensure private sector participation.

To increase international tourism to the United States, President Obama recommends promoting unique U.S. destinations/experiences, reducing wait times for visas in rapid-growth countries such as China and Brazil, and making the U.S. Global Entry program permanent.

In remarks, the President stated, “Every year, tens of millions of tourists from all over the world come and visit America. And the more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work. We need to help businesses all across the country grow and create jobs; compete and win. That’s how we’re going to rebuild an economy where hard work pays off, where responsibility is rewarded, and where anyone can make it if they try.”

“I was honored to stand with the President in Orlando as he announced that travel and tourism will be a national priority,” said AH&LA President/CEO Joe McInerney. “Travel and tourism is among the nation’s largest employers and a top ten industry in 48 states – so this effort will benefit every community. By focusing on these high-growth sectors, the United States is poised to create jobs and strengthen the economy.”

Many of the priorities highlighted by the President today are shared by the AH&LA co-chaired Discover America Partnership (DAP). DAP is a lobbying and grassroots campaign working to advance visa and entry reforms in order to regain the share of the international traveler market the United States held in 2000. By recapturing America’s historic share of international travel, the U.S. could create up to 1.3 million new U.S. jobs by 2020 and produce $859 billion in cumulative additional economic output.

“While working with the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB), we reported that tourism is a low-cost/high-reward prospect and one of the few industries showing positive growth,” said Nancy Johnson, AH&LA chair and executive vice president, development, Carlson Hotels, America. “Promoting travel produces a multiplier effect that benefits all industries and TTAB estimates we could add 500,000 new U.S. jobs by 2015 with no cost to tax payers. We commend the President for taking this positive step forward.”

“President Obama’s travel initiative will certainly help the U.S. hospitality industry to acquire more affluent Chinese travelers and create more jobs in luxury retail, golf industry, and shopping centers”, said Pierre Gervois, CEO of China Elite Focus, member of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. “In cities like New York City, hotels and retailers are now taking initiatives to attract the wealthy segment of Chinese customers, even before they arrive in the country, when they are still in China, planning their shopping trip to the U.S.”

Promoting travel and tourism remains one of AH&LA’s highest priorities. AH&LA and the Discover America Partnership will continue to work closely with Members of Congress, the Administration, and governmental agencies to highlight the incredible opportunity presented by bringing more international travelers to United States.