Visitor numbers surging but offering has to be right (I)

Published on 2016-12-05

China is likely to overtake New Zealand as Australia's largest source of overseas visitors next year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This represents a phenomenal rise of nearly a million Chinese visitors a year since 2009.

While this has obviously already been a huge boon for Australian tourism operators, it's set to rise even further with Chinese visitor numbers likely to more than double to 2.5 million by 2024.

According to Tourism Australia's chief marketing officer, Lisa Ronson, Australia remains the No.1 aspirational destination for the Chinese tourist.

She acknowledges that while our competitors in the tourism sector are ramping up their offerings in a bid to attract China's travellers, one of the keys to maintaining our competitive advantage and attracting more Chinese consumers is getting the data story right.

The reason: Chinese consumers are extremely digitally savvy. Smartphone penetration is high, and Ronson says 53 per cent of Chinese visitors book their Australian holiday on a smartphone app.

"We have to better understand the cultural sensitivities around Chinese smartphone usage. We need to better understand the user journey [and] the importance of social networks, and craft itineraries based on an individual's desires," Ronson says.