BCEC and TRC host the ‘Growing the Asian market for tourism in WA’ symposium
Kelly Pohatu, Events and Communications Officer
Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) recently partnered with the Curtin University’s Tourism Research Cluster (TRC) to host a symposium on growing the Asian market for tourism in Western Australia.
The symposium was officially opened by the Minister for Tourism, the Hon. Paul Papalia MLA who acknowledged the important work being done by TRC and BCEC to promote international tourism, particularly in the Chinese tourism market.
The event was well attended by tourism industry representatives and policy makers, who gathered for the launch of a BCEC-funded report ‘Are we China Ready? Chinese Tourism in WA’ authored by Associate Professor Jianhong (Cecilia) Xia from the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences and her cross-disciplinary team at Curtin University.
The report examines the travel experiences of Chinese tourists in WA and suggests policy changes the WA Government can make to capture this growing market, including the extension of retail trading hours.
Associate Professor Xia said small changes could make WA more ‘China-ready’ for tourists.
“Our analysis shows 75 per cent of Chinese visitors to Western Australia are aged 20 to 40 years, and we know these travellers are generally looking to purchase luxury goods. In fact, Chinese visitors spend an average almost $500 per night when they stay in Australia,” Associate Professor Xia said.
The symposium also provided researchers with a forum to present and discuss innovative research exploring ways to grow international tourism to Western Australia from the diverse Asian market.
Professor Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt from the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute in Germany delivered a compelling keynote, sharing his extensive research and expertise working with China’s tourism industry.
Professor Dr. Arlt said there is strong growth potential in China’s outbound tourism industry.
“75 per cent of Chinese tourists believe travelling is a vital factor for improving their quality of life and happiness, however only 10 per cent of Chinese citizens own passports, so there is a much bigger market to tap into.”
Dr Michael Volgger and Associate Professor Christof Pforr from Curtin’s School of Marketing shared preliminary findings from their research into tourism product development for Asian markets, emphasising a need for tailored product adaptation and development for the Asian market.
Dr Lesley Crowe-Delaney from the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute talked about Japanese tourist culture and its importance in Western Australian tourism.
Associate Professor Vanessa Quintal and Zorana Soldat from Curtin’s School of Marketing shared their research into the binge travelling behaviour of Asian tourists who visit Western Australia for luxury vacations, suggesting the tourism industry should customise services to satisfy this market.
The symposium also brought together representatives from the tourism industry to share their perspectives, and help frame a conversation on how best to grow the Asian market for tourism in WA.
BCEC Director Professor Alan Duncan chaired the discussion with panellists Professor Dr. Arlt, Associate Professor Xia, Ms Lisa Shreeve and Mr Yan Lyu.
Lisa Shreeve, Chief Executive Officer, Busselton Jetty, shared her experience in the tourism industry and broached the question, “why don’t Asian visitors come to Western Australia?”.
Ms Shreeve said while there is extensive research and data collected from the Asian visitors that come to WA, there needs to be more focus on why Asian visitors do not come to WA to ensure we have a coordinated approach to promote WA abroad.
She also went on to share how Busselton Jetty is a great example of a WA tourism product attracting the Asian market through innovative ideas and strategies.
Mr Yan Lyn, Liaison Officer at the Bunbury-Jiaxing Business Office shared his insights into understanding the importance of Chinese business practices, etiquette and customs when tailoring tourism packages for the Asian market.
Professor Dr. Arlt closed the event with the launch of TRC’s book ‘Food, Wine and China’ edited by Professors Christof Pforr and Ian Phau at Curtin’s School of Marketing. The book includes findings from a BCEC-funded project titled ‘WA wine exports: Building an economic future with China‘.
Professor Duncan said collaborative research projects, such as Associate Professor Xia’s report, continue to be a key priority for the Centre.