Tourism Australia has selected an elite group of China-based travel agencies to spearhead a new, high yield distribution network focused upon selling high quality Australian holiday packages to China's rapidly growing middle classes.
A total of 31 specialist travel agents have been selected to join the new Key Distribution Partners (KDP) program, based primarily in the 'Tier 1' cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, plus a selection of 'Tier 2' cities, including Nanjing, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Chengdu and Chongqing.
Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O'Sullivan, said the new program formed a core component of its China strategy and towards attracting more independent, higher spending Chinese visitors seeking higher quality visitor experiences.
“The vast majority of international travel out of China is still booked through travel agencies, and under this program we believe we've identified the best of the best, who have the commitment and capability to help us engage with this new breed of more sophisticated Chinese traveller seeking to build a much richer and higher quality holiday experience," Mr O'Sullivan said.
“The agents we have selected already have a solid understanding of the Australian tourism market, as well as established relationships with exactly the type of high yield consumer we want to engage with as part of our Chinese marketing activities.
"Under this new program, we'll be developing joint marketing activities with these agents and strongly encouraging them to develop new and innovative Australian tourism products which will appeal to higher yield Chinese travellers,” he said.
Mr O'Sullivan said Tourism Australia would be encouraging Australian tourism operators with similarly aligned target segments to support the KDP program.
“We firmly believe that those Australian tourism businesses who engage most strongly with our preferred Chinese distribution partners will reap the greatest benefits from the program. In other markets such as Singapore where we've put in place similar distribution programs, the feedback from the states and territories, the airlines and our other industry partners has been very positive,” he said.
The new distribution strategy will be supported by increased advertising spending. New and innovative itineraries and programs, designed to meet the needs of Australia's target market in China, will also be developed and promoted by Tourism Australia, including through its China website, www.australia.cn
China is Australia's fastest growing and most valuable inbound tourism market, with around 760,000 Chinese visitor arrivals spending more than $5 billion in the past 12 months.
Figures recently released by Tourism Australia suggest that annual spending by Chinese visitors to Australia could rise to A$13 billion by 2020.