There is much excitement in the industry about the prospect of the return of Tropical North Queensland’s once-strong Chinese visitor numbers before Chinese New Year after a week of good news from the China market.
The announcement that Australia would regain Approved Destination Status will rapidly increase the speed of tourism recovery from Greater China which currently accounts for just 5% of our region’s international visitors.
Aviation access will be the key to growth, and this will be helped by China Southern resuming direct flights to Brisbane four times a week from 17 November with plans to increase to seven, while Cathay Pacific will increase its Brisbane flights from Hong Kong from four to six per week from December.
The resumption of direct services between Cairns and Greater China are important for Tropical North Queensland’s economy as they not only boost tourism but allow agricultural export opportunities. In 2019 visitors from southern China, Hong Kong and Taiwan accounted for one in five international visitor nights injecting more than $200 million a year into our regional economy from tourism alone.
I was part of the Cairns delegation to Hong Kong last week to discuss the opportunities for tourism and freight to southern China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. We met with trade partners and airlines to discuss how we can work together to make direct flights to Cairns a success.
Cooperative marketing will be essential to drive demand for flights to Cairns from Hong Kong against the many destinations competing for direct access and TTNQ is ready to begin this work with our partners.
Trade training activities are underway in China with 12 key distribution agents in Beijing receiving face-to-face training just last week from our in-market representative Suzy Lai. Members with Chinese speaking sales managers will have the opportunity to participate in online training opportunities in coming months.
Last week TTNQ released a social media package for members to purchase. It includes setting up and managing Chinese social platforms WeChat, Weibo, and Little Red Book to enable members to speak directly with trade and consumers in China.
We are in discussion about campaign activity, so I urge members who want to work in the China market to contact our team’s China specialist Harriet Ganfield about re-engaging with this important market.
Chief Executive Officer