Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Sunday, September 28, 2008

China and Regional Australia 3 - attracting Chinese tourists 2: telling a story

This is part of a Chinese mega store in Shanghai. Click on the image to get a full feel. While the overall footprint is smaller than one of our big malls, the size and crush of people is overwhelming.

If you are going to attract Chinese tourists, any tourists for that matter, you have to be able to tell a story. Many of our regional areas are very bad at this.

Proud of you parks and civic facilities? Forget it. This won't sell. Proud of your shopping centre and the fact that you have good coffee? Forget it. This won't sell.

Each regional area has different features. Each has its own history, its own life style You have to focus on this.

To illustrate what I mean by taking an area that I know especially well.

If I had a Chinese tour party in Armidale, I would focus one day on mining.

On a day trip, I would start by telling them a little of the history of mining in the area, focusing on the hazards and romance including the role played by the Chinese, the old (California) and new (Australia) gold mountains.

Our first stop would be Uralla where I would take them to the museum with its Chinese Joss House, then to Thunderbolt's statue and grave. Plenty of time for photos. Then on to Inverell with its sapphires. After trying fossicking, there would be time to look at and buy sapphires.

From Inverell to Tingha with its Chinese store museum. Tin, the Chinese presence, the old Chinese store that is now a museum. Then back to Armidale.

This is quite a long day trip with plenty of relevant material.

On a second day I would show the romance of wool. This would focus on the establishment of a new order in a strange land, of wealth and privilege, of the way wool helped form elements of the Australian character.

I would start with Booloominbah, the big White town house that now forms the core of the University of New England. I would follow this with a country tour, including a visit to a working sheep property. Lots of animals. And I would again make certain that there were things to buy, plenty of wool products. On the trip, I would (among other things) explain Waltzing Matilda, teaching our guests to sing the song.

This is only a bare sketch, but it illustrates my point.

In terms of other things that our visitors might do, there is of course a tour of the city and its immediate attractions. Then, too, they might need some choice.

This depends in part on what is on in town. If the markets are on, that is one option. Racing would be a second. Beyond that, things are available like a gorge tour, a helicopter flight, a winery visit, a horse ride.

In all this, there is the need to treat the visitors as guests. A welcome by the mayor, the local Chinese community or the University, learning Australian cooking, meeting Australians in their own homes, the list of possibilities is quite extensive.

In all this, we need to remember my opening point, the need to tell a story.

Back to the entry post in this series.


Unknown said...

Industry experts say that there is a huge tourist potential from China to India. China receives over 34 million overseas visitors and 10 million domestic Chinese visitors go abroad every year. India receives 3 m visitors and 6 m Indians go abroad.




Jim Belshaw said...

I am sure that you are right, Kesha, and the same principle applies - telling a story. To pick up your own interests as promoter, a lot of internet advertising fails because it is porrly promoted.