Australia’s South West for Asian markets: Promoting tourism product development

ContactsAlan Duncan, Director
Kelly Pohatu, Events and Communications Coordinator
Published1 November 2018

The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre together with the South West Development Commission and Australia’s South West hosted a workshop on attracting Asian tourists to Western Australia’s southern coast, in Busselton in October 2018.

The event was well attended by tourism industry representatives and policy makers, who gathered for the launch of a BCEC Feature report, Australia’s South West for Asia: Promoting tourism product development in Australia’s South West tourism region for Asian markets.

Report author Dr Michael Volgger, from Curtin University’s School of Marketing, said the research found most Asian visitors were attracted to the South-West’s blue skies and crystal clear waters, but many potential visitors required a greater understanding of the region’s overall experiences.

“There is a real need to sharpen our focus on promoting the uniqueness of Australia’s South West to Asian markets, in order to further increase awareness of the region’s key locations,” Dr Volgger said.

Co-author Associate Professor Christof Pforr, also from Curtin’s School of Marketing, said China was the main driver of Asian tourists to Australia, with 1.25 million visitors in 2017.

“The primary motivation for Asian visitors wanting to visit Australia’s South West was the clean environment, blue skies, beaches, food, scenery and the overall outdoor experience,” Associate Professor Pforr said.

“The key attractions Asian visitors identified included the Leeuwin Lighthouse, Busselton Jetty, Margaret River Chocolate Factory, wineries, caves, beaches and towns, the Tree Top Walk in Pemberton, Greens Pool in Denmark and The Gap in Albany.”

South West Development Commission Acting CEO Ms Rebecca Ball said she was excited by the opportunities identified in the report to increase visitation from our key tourism markets in Asia.

“We have already met with tourism industry leaders to discuss where we should focus our future tourism development and marketing activities,” Ms Ball said.

“We will be working further with Australia’s South West and the local tourism industry to capitalise on the opportunities highlighted in this report, complementing the efforts of the wider State Government to target the high growth Asian markets. By teaming up to offer more tailored products and services, not only will the South West benefit, but visitors will also enjoy a more fulfilling experience.”

BCEC Director Professor Alan Duncan chaired the panel discussion at the launch event with Rebecca Guilbert, Sales and Marketing Manager, Willie Creek Pearls; Adam Barnard, Managing Director, ADAMS Coachlines; Xavier Sala Busquets, Market Manager, Western Australia, Expedia; and Dee Smith, Former Chair, Australia’s South West.

Xavier Sala Busquets, Market Manager, Western Australia, Expedia; Rebecca Guilbert, Sales and Marketing Manager, Willie Creek Pearls; Associate Professor Christof Pforr, Curtin University School of Marketing; Adam Barnard, Managing Director, ADAMS Coachlines; BCEC Director Professor Alan Duncan; Dee Smith, Former Chair, Australia’s South West; and Dr Michael Volgger, Curtin University School of Marketing.

Rebecca Guilbert promoted the important role that strong brands and tailored signature experiences play when developing a tourism strategy to draw Asian visitors.

Adam Barnard said the South West’s core product of a clean environment, blue skies, beaches, food, and scenery is key to attracting Asian markets to the region.

Xavier Sala Busquets said he found there were positive signals in recent accommodation booking data from Asian markets, however providers need to work together to optimise opportunities identified within the report, to both domestic and international customers.

Dee Smith discussed the importance of collaboration, and said that tailored marketing activities to Asian markets is key to ensuring the long-term tourism objectives for Western Australia’s southern coast.