Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) is leading an Australian first tourism mission to China this week in a bid to connect tourism operators with digital travel partners and grow Queensland’s share of the market.
The ‘Focus Queensland | Digital Marketplace China 2017’ event, held in Shenzhen, will mark the first time an Australian state tourism organisation delivers a forum dedicated to enabling business connections between tourism operators and key emerging digital travel platforms in the China market.
TEQ Chief Executive Office Leanne Coddington said while group travel to Australia was still very strong, research and trends showed increasing numbers of Chinese visitors were choosing to arrange their own travel itineraries.
“Research undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics and Tourism Australia reveals Chinese ‘free independent travellers’ are highly connected and engaged with digital platforms and social media channels,” Ms Coddington said.
“With exponential growth in smartphone usage, their propensity to purchase items digitally has also increased.
“Add to this the strong emergence of online travel agencies and the value of the China market - responsible for over $1 billion in visitor expenditure to Queensland in the year ending June 2017.
“It’s crucial for tourism operators to establish strong relationships with key digital travel trade partners who are often the first port of call for Chinese travellers as they gather information online and make travel decisions.”
Ms Coddington said the overarching objective of the ‘Focus Queensland’ mission was to raise awareness of the state as a travel destination in China.
“The event will lead into Tourism Australia’s Greater China Travel Mission, also held in China, and will form one of the final in-market trade events for 2017, the China-Australia Year of Tourism,” she said.
“The mission will provide a platform to raise the profile of Queensland’s unique range of visitor experiences, grow business opportunities and build new and existing travel industry relationships.
“The 25 participating Queensland tourism businesses will engage with representatives from online travel agencies and new digital travel platforms.
“These include China’s largest online travel agency Ctrip International Ltd with more than 50 million monthly page views across its digital platforms; online travel leisure company Tuniu with approximately 180 million monthly page views; and online travel agency LY.com with 1.5 billion monthly page views.
“Queensland operators will also have access to two leading Chinese travel service platforms, Utour and Mafengwo, with whom TEQ has signed memorandums of understanding, and will be able to leverage our existing relationships with these companies.
“The mission is a practical way to act on the market insights we’ve gained and aligns with the priorities outlined in the Queensland Asia Tourism Strategy 2016-2025, to establish, develop and grow partnerships with trade agents in priority cities.”
In the year to June 2017, Queensland welcomed 471,000 Chinese visitors.