Over the past couple of years, after working on tourism development projects around the globe, for nearly every destination without exception from tiny St Lucia to India, China is on everyone’s minds in the tourism world. I couldn’t help but think of the song “Always on My Mind,” which has been bouncing around the charts globally now in 300 recorded versions. If you recall, the lyrics went partially like this: “If I made you feel second best…Girl I’m sorry I was blind…You were always on my mind…”
Well, destinations such as Australia are far from blind about the Chinese outbound market or considering it second best. The latest edition of the HVS Asia Pacific Newsletter just reported the following, which I take to be an interesting market indicator:
“The Australian Government has granted Tourism Australia a new fund, Asia Marketing Fund, worth A$48.5 million (US$49.9 million). The new funding aims to generate increased visitation and economic returns from Asia, which is Australia’s fastest growing tourism region. Visitor numbers from Asia have tripled since 1990, and spending by Asian visitors in Australia has grown by 64% since 2000. Tourism Australia will focus the first year of the fund on four strategic projects, includng targeting three secondary cities in China – Qingdao, Chengdu and Chongqing through its existing China 2020 Strategy.”
64% growth in spending! Not surprising that the Fund is also targeting secondary cities. Secondary cities in a Chinese context are still nearly of megalopolis sizes. There are more than 100 cities with populations over 1 million in the country! Lots of potential outbound generating markets!