Chinese tourism boom predicted
China’s Hainan Airlines, has launched direct flights between two southern Chinese cities and Sydney, as tourism authorities predict that China is on its way to becoming Australia’s biggest inbound tourism market, SBS’ Cassandra Hill reports.
The expected boost comes as some Queensland tourism operators say they are counting on the Oprah effect to counter cancellations and poor bookings, following the state’s flood crisis.
Hainan Airlines and Sydney Airport executives say that there is a strong demand from the booming economic centres of Shenzen and Hangzhou.
“Since Hainan Airlines launched its first flight between Shenzhen and surrounding areas and Sydney, we don’t need to transfer to Guangzhou and Hong Kong, it’s more convenient,” the airline’s Marketing Director Hou Wei told SBS.
Jetstar is also set to start flights from Hangzhou and China Southern Airlines has already expanded its flights between Guangzhou and Australia’s east coast.
The Tourism and Transport Forum says China is Australia’s fastest growing market.
“If these numbers in the medium term are reflected, you’ll see China literally as the top one or two inbound tourist countries that Australia has,” John Lee from the Tourism and Transport Forum told SBS.
There are hopes that tourism will also receive a boost as US TV celebrity, Oprah’s shows filmed in Australia go to air.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council says it is hopes that the images will counteract perceptions that the whole of its state is devastated by floods.
Oprah is urging her viewers to support flood recovery efforts
Tourism executive, John Lee, says ‘the Oprah effect’ is already taking hold.
“Nearly a 50-percent increase on traffic on the internet already, there are people phoning booking agents in the us, in some of our bigger markets in the UK and China”
He says the floods won’t deter travellers from coming in the year ahead.
Source: World News Australia—20 Jan. 2011