Chinese groups head for Cairns

BUSINESS Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef (BECGBR) has reported rising interest and bookings for Chinese meetings and incentives this year, driven by factors including improved air access and strong trade links between the city and China.

Rosie Douglas, director of business events, BECGBR, said a number of Chinese business events had been confirmed for 2013, with most hailing from the insurance and pharmaceutical sectors.

“Off the top of my head, we have a group of 150 top achievers that will be coming over in April and a 100-pax incentive group from a pharmaceutical company in May,” Douglas said, adding that Chinese incentive groups tend to stay in the destination for two to three nights.

“Most of these events are organised by MNCs based in China,” she observed.

Ross Steele, general manager of Cairns Convention Centre, which has also seen “real growth” in Chinese attendees at association events, pointed out that strong business links between companies in China and Cairns were also fuelling growth in Chinese MICE arrivals.

Meanwhile, China Eastern Airlines recently extended its trial period for two to three weekly direct flights from Shanghai to end-2013. Cathay Pacific Airways currently runs daily Hong Kong-Cairns flights.

Douglas said: “The direct air access is a boon, but Cairns has been seeing a rise in Chinese arrivals even before (the commencement of China Eastern Airlines’ services).

“The Chinese leisure market has been quite interested in Cairns for a while now. During the recent Lunar New Year holidays, we had 20,000 Chinese holidaymakers flying in on chartered flights. And we know that a strong leisure appeal will lead to future business interest in the destination.”

To grow the Chinese market further, BECGBR will continue with its market research on identifying potential Chinese businesses, maintain its support for Tourism Australia’s trade activities in China and produce destination marketing collaterals in Mandarin.

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