Tourism Australia is forecasting a more than 200 per cent growth in Chinese tourist arrivals in the next decade, a World Routes tourism briefing heard. Andrew McEvoy, CEO of Tourism Australia, said the destination marketing organisation forecast 226 per cent growth from China in the next ten years.
The USA will also continue to prove to be a core market for the destination, with 133 per cent growth forecast for the next decade. These two markets are a focus for new air service to Australia, although the destination is performing strongly from nearly all its source markets. Australia welcomed 6.3 million visitors in 2012 – an increase of 6% in leisure tourists on 2011.
This was despite the persistently strong Australian dollar, which has made the destination more expensive for traditional European markets. “The growth is coming from Asia, from China and places like India, Singapore and Malaysia. The UK, US and Europe are seeing a return to growth. The Kiwis keep coming. The only dark spot is Japan,” he explained.
McEvoy said Tourism Australia prioritised a team approach to air services, as nearly all tourists arrive by aircraft. He said Australia’s own carriers were performing well, but the real growth was coming from airlines in China, the Middle East, and South East Asia and outlined Tourism Australia’s approach to air services development, which sees it work with its airports as ‘Team Australia’ at major trade shows including World Routes.
“We are much more aligned to our airline partners [than some other destinations]. We see our number one role being to help fill existing seats and leverage those dollars,” he said. “Then we also look at how to get more seats and we work with airlines on increasing capacity or introducing new services.”
In terms of market segmentation, McEvoy said youth travel remained vital for Australia. “Twenty six per cent of arrivals are under 30-years old and they spend A$12.5 billion. They then go on to play an advocacy role for us for life. Our Six Best Jobs in the World campaign was all about that and the winners have become advocates for us,” he said.
That particular campaign was one of the cheapest Tourism Australia has ever run, McEvoy added. He said it cost around A$3 million but as a digital and social media campaign it was pushed out on those channels, along with other less traditional partners such as Sony Music, Dell and Monster.com.