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Monday, 17 Jun 2013

China big regional travel growth opportunity says CCIANSW

HumpBack Whale, Port Stephens courtesy Harry Nicholas.
HumpBack Whale, Port Stephens
courtesy Harry Nicholas.

China has a rapidily growing group of independent travellers who look for new experiences, fresh air, sunshine, enjoy fun and Aussie barbecues, Lyndel Gray, CEO of the Caravan and Camping Industry Association of New South Wales (CCIANSW) said today.

"China is the fastest growing travel opportunity for regional NSW once awareness is raised", Lyndel  Gray said .

Research by Dr Mao-Ying Wu, Research Officer, E-research Center, James Cook University and Dr Phillip L. Pearce Foundation Professor of Tourism , James Cook University shows that Chinese road travellers in rented motorhome and campervan Recreational Vehicles (RV's) are not self-sufficient, they are 'Blue ribbon', interested in the most well-known caravan parks and their quality facilities.

This is in contrast to the mature Australian RV Market many of whom are self-sufficient and only need basic or basic extra services during their trip.

The Chinese are big shoppers, travel as couples or family groups and prefer to travel in June, July and August. Lyndel and two CCIA member park representatives are part of the launch by Beijing based wholesaler, Fresh Holidays of the first Escorted Motorhome Tour, travelling between Sydney and the Gold Coast.

The 10-night package includes options to explore destinations and attractions along the way. Extensions to include Queensland's Great Barrier Reef are in the mix .
The  team of presenters who took part in the launch
The team of presenters who took part in the launch

The CCIANSW CEO and Peter Moeller from One Mile Beach Holiday Park, Port Stephens and Beniot Thorp from Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park, Port Macquarie aim to educate Chinese travel agents about the holiday park experiences on offer in NSW.

The Chinese holiday preference for June, July and August is an obvious plus for caravan park owners and operators in cooler parts of Australia who look to increase their guest ratio during low and shoulder road tourism periods.

"We want them to stay in our caravan parks, cabins and Recreational Vehicles (RV's)", Lyndel Gray said. "The Chinese are fun loving and, particularly younger travellers, often speak good English".

"They really love nature and want to see the Australian way of life and as they are looking for new experiences all the time tourism is a great ambassador", Lyndel Gray said.

"When the Chinese move they move quickly and they represent a market of more than one billion people", she said.

“Since being approached a few months ago we have worked closely with Fresh Holidays, Britz Maui and Destination NSW’s Shanghai office to develop this innovative touring program that is a first for the China market.”

“The Holiday Parks where the motorhome travellers will stay are in some of NSW’s finest locations; right on the beach, surrounded by national parks and close to cafes, restaurants and shops”, she said.

The Escorted Motorhome Tour program incorporates four nights in NSW before travelling on to the Gold Coast.

After a first day sightseeing in Sydney, participants will get set up in their motorhomes and head for Port Stephens 208 km away on an easy road touring stage.
Chinese travel industry at program launch Beijing
Chinese travel industry at program launch Beijing

From Port Stephens they move on 248km to the popular town of Port Macquarie and their final night in NSW is spent in Emerald Beach just 20 minutes north of Coffs Harbour after touring 178km.

The free GoSeeAustralia Trip Planner says the Queensland section of the Escorted Motorhome Tour program adds 304km to the experience for a total travelled of 938km.

“We are delighted that Fresh Holidays has introduced the concept of motorhome travel and Holiday Park stays into their new touring program. They have a successful track record of introducing new and innovative destinations and products to the Chinese market.”

“Whilst it’s still early days, we are confident that over time we will be able to generate great interest in the unique experiences offered by RV travel and NSW Holiday Parks,” Lyndel Gray said.

Lyndel Gray led Tourism NSW from 2008-2011, consolidating the State’s position as Australia’s top tourism destination, delivering significant growth in market share for holiday visitor numbers, nights and expenditure in both domestic and international markets.

Prior to joining Tourism NSW, she was Executive General Manager, Western Hemisphere at Tourism Australia, responsible for its Americas, UK/ Europe, New Zealand, South Africa and Middle East operations.

She also held senior executive roles with the Australian Tourism Commission (now Tourism Australia) in the USA for 14 years, based in both New York and Los Angeles.

In 2001 she was recognised as one of the 'Top 100 Marketers in the USA'  for the innovative partnership programs developed with major Olympic sponsors to promote tourism to Australia and to capitalise on the Sydney 2000 Games.
A bright day bursts on One Mile Beach Port Stephens
A bright day bursts on One Mile Beach Port Stephens

Chinese recreational vehicle tourists in Australia, RV The World, research prepared by Dr Mao-Ying Wu, Research Officer, E-research Center, James Cook University and Dr Phillip L. Pearce Foundation Professor of Tourism , James Cook University says their findings are relevant to drive tourism interest groups, caravan and camping associations especially those with a concern for planning a sustainable regional Australia.

They also point to destination marketing organisations. Small business in regional areas, because independent travellers are their key international market, vehicle renting companies and the transport and main roads departments.

The research says the world’s most populous country is becoming affluent.

In 2012, China generated 82million outbound tourists, which represents an annual increase of 16.7 percent. Further, the number is expected to keep growing (China Tourism Academy, 2013).

Australia is one of the popular long haul travel destinations for the Chinese. In the past year, Australia attracted 630,000 Chinese tourists, accounting for 10.2 percent of its international market, only New Zealand provided more international tourists to Australia.

While the group tour is still popular among Chinese overseas tourists, the  number  of independent Chinese travellers is  growing . According to an extensive survey conducted by Tourism Research Australia (2012), the independent Chinese outbound travellers tend to be more experienced travellers from the coastal cities in China.

They are well-educated, relatively young and consist of a large proportion of experience seekers and self-challengers.
Lyndel Gray new CEO CCIANSW
Lyndel Gray new CEO CCIANSW

They are one of the most economically and socially profitable markets for a lot of destinations.

In addition to the growth of independent tourists, the influence of social media and its role in shaping Chinese tourist behaviour is notable as well.

The Chinese market, especially the independent travel market, is technology savvy. Their travel decision making is strongly influenced by the online interactions with previous pioneer travellers from China. They enjoy posting rich and detailed travel blogs of their tours on a daily basis, with intensive communication with other online community members.

Chinese tourists, especially the independent tourists, enjoy the distinctive experiences Australia offers. One of these experiences is driving in Australia, especially doing an RV tour.

The research uses Chinese blogs as a data source and shows that the subjects are young middle class (majority of them are in their late 20s and 30s), independent travellers, and technology equipped.

They travel across Australia for an average of 18.3 days. They spend considerable money in Australia (e.g. vehicle renting, comprehensive insurance, BIG4 caravan parks, commercial activities, and quality Australian food). Based on the total expenses which 12 of the informants provided online, supplemented by the researchers’ online enquiries, the average daily expenditure ranged from 250-350 AUD.
Room to be comfortable One Mile Beach Port Stephens
Room to be comfortable One Mile Beach Port Stephens

The highest expenditure was recorded by a core family who stayed 45 days in Australia (8 days self-driving, 21 days motorhome and the rest of the days in Sydney). They spent 40,625 AUD for the trip (903 AUD daily). A holiday range from 11 to 21 days is most common.

There is a consistent holiday time pattern, mostly consistent with the Chinese system, concentrating in the Chinese Golden weeks and school holidays (especially summer holidays July and August).

A pull factor the researchers say is Australia is considered as a good driving destination since Australians are perceived as friendly, there are great natural landscapes in Australia, there is the flexibility of the RV, the symbolic meaning of RVs as a prestigious novel activity is appreciated, and the value for money offered by RV tour is noted (for some people).

All these features may have special meanings for Chinese tourists, and may vary among the individuals. The flexibility of RVs, a feature which has been widely emphasised in the research on the Grey Nomads and Snowbirds, re-occurs with the Chinese travellers. Here, however, it has special features in terms of the control of food and time compared to the constraints of package group travel.

Additionally, the flexibility is also linked to status.

Chinese tourists, in general, are very impressed with the 'Great 3' in Australia. These 'Great 3' summarized by Chinese tourists are the Great Ocean Road, the Great Barrier Reef and the big rock (Uluru).

Consistently, the most popular route among Chinese RV tourists is the Great Ocean Road. The next most popular route was the Pacific Coast Touring Route which connects Sydney and Brisbane. The Great Green Way in North Qld is gaining in popularity among Chinese drive tourists.
Great Ocean Road Anglesea views.
Great Ocean Road Anglesea views.

Implications for the Australian accommodation industry include that Chinese independent tourists, as well as the drive tourists, enjoy the different accommodation experiences offered in Australia.

Standard hotel rooms are not their preferences. The study offers implications for how these businesses can approach this emerging market, the research says.

Editors Note: The Researchers: Dr. Philip Pearce is the Foundation Professor of Tourism in James Cook University. Philip Pearce is also known as the first Professor of Tourism in Australia. He has been widely involved in Chinese RV tourists in Australia Mao-Ying Wu and Philip L. Pearce  research and consulting work in both Australia and other parts of the world, especially the US and Asia (Singapore, Thailand, and China).

Dr Mao-Ying Wu has recently completed a PhD at James Cook University and brings a detailed knowledge of Chinese tourists and culture to the study of tourism developments in Australia. She is currently working as research officer in the School of Business.

In addition to the two researchers involved in this RV research project, JCU tourism has six more senior and junior researchers interested in different aspects of the emerging inbound tourism markets.

 The Caravan & Camping Industry Association of NSW (CCIA) and the Manufactured Housing Industry Association of New South Wales (MHIA) traces its history back to the 1969 amalgamation of the Caravan Trades Association of NSW and the Caravan Parks Association of NSW.

This was a historic move, as the park and trade Associations had not come together anywhere else in Australia.  The Association is managed by a Board of Directors elected every second year from within its membership, and is administered from its headquarters at Rosehill.
The membership of some 590 is drawn from owners and operators of tourist parks, manufactured home villages and estates, manufacturers of manufactured homes, caravans, motorhomes, retailers of manufactured homes, recreational vehicles, camping equipment and accessories, and the service industries. Membership is restricted to individuals and companies who meet standards established by the Association.


For more information
contact: Garth Morrison
Editor Go See Australia and Go See New Zealand Directory
Email: garth@contact.com.au

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