Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Friday, September 26, 2008

China and Regional Australia 2 - attracting Chinese tourists 1: what do we have to sell?

Photo: Shanghai crowd scene

As I walked through Shanghai, I ached to get some of them back to visit Regional Australia. China is still a poor country measured by average standard of living. However, I would guess that the middle class has now passed 130 million, many of whom can afford to travel.

Our present travel promotion generally has a city bias, or focuses on things that we think are distinct. We do not think of what might be distinct in the minds of our potential visitors.

China is incredibly crowded to those of us used to even big regional centres. Further, the Chinese are used to and even love the crowds. Here a Chinese work friend said that when she first came to Sydney, she missed the crowds and the noise. To her, Sydney was a small city.

The love of crowds does not mean that we cannot attract Chinese visitors to Regional Australia. In fact, the opposite is true. We have the capacity to offer them a unique experience. We may not attract them all, but even half of one per cent is 750,000 extra visitors per annum.

But what does Regional Australia have to offer compared to the metro centres or the big coastal resort areas? Here I can only offer my own experiences in conversation.

The Chinese appear fascinated by our animals, especially koalas and kangaroos. So this is one part of the experience.

Then, too, the Chinese appear fascinated by our primary production. Wool, sheep dogs, properties with size measured in hundreds if not thousands of hectares. This can be romance territory. Even being able to pat a hen!

Given the current problems with contaminated milk in China, our clean food is another attraction.

Then we have life style in a broad sense. Just about everything in Regional Australia is different in life style terms.

In all this, the key point is to focus on and emphasise the differences with China.

Back to the entry post in this series.

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