Monday, 8 May 2017

AUSTRALIA: Australia Invites Chinese Tourists To Rural Areas

One of Australia's government tourism agencies, Destination New South Wales (NSW), launched a new campaign Monday that will see Chinese tourists brought to rural communities in parts of the state.

The move is part of a partnership with a travel agency in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Over 1.2 million Chinese tourists made their way to Australia last year, with that figure set to increase exponentially over the next decade, and this program aims to take the incoming visitors off the regular beaten track, and bring them to two of Australia's most picturesque towns, Dubbo and Mudgee.

Minister for Tourism in NSW Adam Marshall said in a statement to Xinhua that this is the first time a campaign has partnered with an overseas agency to bring tourists directly to these rural local hubs.

"The aim of this campaign is to encourage travellers to explore rural and regional areas of our state by extending their trip beyond the fringes of Sydney," Marshall said.

"This campaign is expected to initially deliver around 500 tourists to different towns across rural and regional NSW, who will inject almost 1 million Australian dollars (739,700 U.S. dollars) into those local economies."

Troy Grant, a NSW minister who is the local representative from Dubbo lauded the move, saying that the tourists from China will relish the "beautiful landscapes, delicious produce, and attractions," including the zoo, that the area has to offer.

"The positive flow-on effects of this campaign will be felt with more overnight stays and more tourist dollars ending up in the pockets of local businesspeople," Grant said.

The Year of Tourism between China and Australia 2017 is crucial from a trade, geopolitical, and tourism perspective, according to Tourism Australia managing director John O'Sullivan, who told Xinhua earlier in the year that one of the other key benefits, is shared culture.

"This partnership is about the understanding of countries, and the understanding of cultures, and in both countries, tourism is a big business," O'Sullivan said.

Mudgee, named by the original Australian Indigenous people, translates to "nest in the hills" and is known worldwide as a top red wine producing region with many wineries to explore.

Dubbo is home to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, which houses over 700 animals who are able to roam its 300 hectares of land.

As part of the campaign, China's tourists to Australia will visit the zoo in Dubbo, travel the next day for winery tours in Mudgee, and then travel back to Sydney, via the Blue Mountains region.

Meanwhile, Chinese mainland visitors to Taiwan drop over 50 pct from Jan. to April

Taiwan's visitor arrivals from the Chinese mainland continued to shrink dramatically this year, with the number of Chinese mainland visitors registered a yearly drop of 50.2 percent in the first four months, according to preliminary data from the island' s immigration department Thursday.

A total of 610,000 Chinese mainland visitors came to Taiwan from January to April this year, of which 267,000 travelled in tour groups, 61 percent less than the same period in the previous year.

Independent mainland tourist arrivals, in the meantime, fell 36.3 percent year-on-year to 343,00.

The number of mainland tourists has plummeted since Taiwan's leader Tsai Ing-wen, who refuses to recognize the 1992 Consensus, took office in May last year.

In 2016, the number of Chinese mainland tourists to Taiwan slipped 14.4 percent to 3.61 million, the first drop in eight years, data from the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council showed.

Wechat Pay is being rolled out across the United States to cater for the growing number of Chinese tourists in the States.

The popular mobile payment facility is teaming up with Citcon, an integrated mobile payment and marketing platform to connect global merchants with Chinese travelers, reports Silicon-based online tech media outlet PingWest.

Through their WeChat accounts, visitors will be able to pay for everything they need in RMB, and without the need for cash.

The first batch of cooperation partners includes restaurants, a hotel, a ski training camp and a luggage brand at a shopping mall.

WeChat has also signed a deal with WE Housing to provide Chinese students with apartment information to help them when they rent homes.

Wechat Pay can now be used in 15 countries and regions, for payments in 12 foreign currencies.