Business / Industries

China expects more bang for Aussie tourism buck

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-07-01 17:22

SYDNEY - The might of the Australian tourism sector spent much of June wining and dining China's top travel agents at one of Australia's largest international trade events, but the success of Tourism Australia's inaugural Corroboree Greater China (CGC) has raised concerns that the industry is still struggling to meet Chinese travelers' cultural expectations.

With China travelers gifting A$4.8 billionto the Australian economy last year, Tourism Australia (TA) has thrown everything it has at China this month, with the inaugural Corroboree Greater China officially winding up on Saturday -- but unofficially -- rolling on into July.

A moveable feast of 'Aussie specialists' gathered last week on Queensland's Gold Coast to enjoy a taste of the very best Australia has to offer.

The Corroboree Greater China played host to logistically- challenging 270 top travel agents from China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) all specializing in selling Australian holidays -- from hunting truffles in Canberra to visiting Uluru in the Northern Territory.

But while TA's Managing Director John O'Sullivan has been keen to educate Chinese tour operators on the hidden wonders of 'Oz', one industry expert told Xinhua more need to be done to educate the industry on what the sophisticated Chinese travelers expect.

Tourism consultant, Andrea Plawutsky, director of Amplify Me, said Australian tourism operators must become truly China savvy if they are to attract the key China market to the industry.

"There are cultural nuances which we in Australia don't necessarily get but which are important to the satisfaction of Chinese customers. Often we don't find this out they fill out the satisfaction surveys when they leave," she said.

"It's crucial to know your customers. And our customers want more."

Based in China for seven years and fluent in mandarin, Plawutsky is in a good position to know what makes these tourists tick.

Her company, Amplify Me, has been a groundbreaker for the domestic sector, educating Aussie tourism operators in how to keep their Chinese customers upbeat and coming back for more of the land down under.

"Chinese born after the 1980s are more worldly now, there is an emerging middle class seeking more adventure, activities and experiences."

According to Tourism Australia, CGC has been rolled out to provide just that.

"The Corroboree Greater China was one of the largest international trade events staged in Australia during 2014 and, all up, had in excess of 400 people attending, including Australian tourism operators and media."

And, of course, it also catered for a significant number of China's top travel agents.

One of those was Xiao Wang, a Taipei-based independent travel agent with a track record of niche tourists.

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