New MoU with China backed by ATEC
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Strengthening Tourism Cooperation with China, signed yesterday between Prime Minister Julie Gillard and Premier Wen Jiabao, has been hailed by the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) as an opportunity to “increase yield and expand our product” into an export market which is now Australia’s largest.
“China has just moved into first place as Australia’s biggest export market in expenditure and the forecast is for this market to continue to grow rapidly through 2020,” ATEC chairman John King said.
“With a rapidly growing wealthy middle class, an expanding number of well travelled people and a very positive perception of Australia in China, this development could not have come at a better time.”
According to Mr King, Australia must now look to improve on its product range for the Chinese market, worth around AU$3 billion a year to the country and up to 13 per cent of total tourism exports.
“We have already seen some tourism businesses taking the initiative by providing tailored services for Chinese tourists such as providing specific foods, entertainment and bi-lingual staff,” Mr King said.
“There is now even more impetus on our industry to provide culturally specific services.”
Opening the way for future market growth, the MoU extends China’s Approved Destination Scheme to include individuals, companies and education opportunities, further promoting group travel as well as streamlining the visa process for Chinese travellers, according to Mr King.
“Australia set the pace by becoming the first western country to be granted approved destination status from China,” the ATEC chairman said.
“It is therefore appropriate that Australia takes the lead in the enhancement of this status.”