Mass influx of Chinese tourists coincides with declining number of North American and European travellers to Australia – experts blame strong Australian dollar.
By Aron Lewin
China is forecasted to leapfrog western countries and become Australia’s primary tourism market.
According to Tourism Australia’s 2020 China Strategic Plan, the number of Chinese tourists in Australia is expected to increase exponentially over the next decade.
The number of Chinese tourists in Australia increased by 19 per cent in 2011.
Despite this growth, CEO of the Australian Tourism and Export Council Matt Hingerty said that Australian suppliers are not providing for the emerging Chinese market.
“It is hard enough to find your way around Central station if you speak English, let alone if you are a foreign language speaker.
“Simple things such as [more] Chinese language signage [are needed]… we have to find products that cater to their specific needs”, Mr Hingerty said.
Even with the massive influx of Chinese tourists, inbound tourism grew just 4.6 per cent in 2012.
Senior lecturer of tourism at Monash University Dr Vicki Peel said that the high Australian dollar has caused a retraction in travel from Europeans and North Americans.
“The idea of … spending any length of time in a country where the dollar is so high against their own has been a challenge for them”, Dr Peel said.
*Edit – 15/10/2013 11:50 pm: Corrected spelling mistake.