The Lunar New Year may be coming to a close but for tour operators specialising in the Chinese market, the goodies are expected to keep coming through the year as Australia is set to welcome about 1.2 million tourists from China in 2017.
"Our bookings have increased by 30 per cent over the past year, said David Pang, marketing manager at Grand City Tours. "Based on 2016's growth, we expect to increase our customer numbers to 240,000 this year."
Photo credit: City of Sydney
An AccorHotels spokeperson commented that the group has also seen strong Chinese growth, with their Sydney and Melbourne CBD hotels reaching more than 90 per cent occupancy during the recent Lunar New Year period.
The numbers echo an overall 19.7 per cent boost in bookings by Chinese visitors in AccorHotels’ online systems last year, helped by a move away from shopping tour groups in favour of FITs.
Other indicators point to Chinese visitors' willingness to stay longer, spend more and explore destinations beyond Australia's major cities as they “seek a higher-quality experience”, she elaborated.
Meanwhile, Pang said his company has doubled their daily tours to meet the rising Chinese demand, introducing new destinations like North Melbourne and Echuca. "We've also introduced experiences like learning to fly a small jet plane with a pilot," he said.
However competing for the Chinese market can be hard work, according to Sandy Chen, marketing manager for Extra Green Holidays. "Fifty percent of our clients come from China but competition with cheaper (regional) destinations is our biggest challenge. The Chinese economy is also weakening and that doesn't help."