A series of China workshops held last week was aimed at educating local businesses on catering to this rapidly emerging market.
Managing Directors of the international tourism development and consultancy firm TravConsult Trevor Lee and Lilly Choi-Lee spoke at three separate forums dealing with market intelligence, business etiquette and providing customer service to Chinese tourists.
Lilly Choi-Lee said tourism operators needed to understand the market in order to be able to service it.
“The one-child policy has produced a generation of travellers with very specific needs. They’re knowledgeable, internet and social media savvy, and they don’t have siblings so they want to connect,” Ms Choi-Lee said.
“They’re not necessarily an easy market but if you understand them you connect and then you’ve got a relationship. They can see the dollar signs in your eyes if that’s how you approach them,” she said.
Trevor Lee compared the Whitsundays to the Maldives as a destination that would be popular with the Chinese for its “beautiful beaches, ocean islands, reef and a tropical climate”.
“This destination is suitable for the families, small corporate groups and definitely honeymooners, but not the mass groups wanting cheap products and accommodation. There is an emerging Chinese backpacker already travelling, probably under the radar at this stage, but this is one we need to keep our eyes out for,” he said.
Tourism Whitsundays International Tourism Manager Lachlan Rentell said it was important for local businesses to recognise the significance of the China market and the benefits it could bring to the region.
“The China market to Queensland grew 23 percent last year. That’s an incredible amount of growth and it’s only going to climb,” Mr Rentell said.