SOUTH-WEST businesses have been urged to get ready for the millions of Chinese visitors set to visit the region.
Two sell out sessions at the Great South Coast Small Business Festival heard how the growth in the Chinese market was expected to continue with more tourists targeting the south-west due to its “safe, clean and green” reputation.
BOOM TIME: Asialink Business’s Thomas Day, Warrnambool City Council’s Shaun Miller and Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism’s Liz Price hosted to sell out small business forums. Picture: Michael Chambers
Thomas Day, from Asialink business, said businesses in the region needed to be ready on a number of fronts for the influx.
“If you look back to the year 2000 there were 10 million outbound trips by Chinese travelers internationally that figure has grown to 145 million now,” he said.
“Australia is getting just one per cent of that and the projections are that number will triple from 1.3 million currently to about 3.3 million by about 2026.
“So there’s huge growth in numbers to the Great Ocean Road.
“It’s anticipated almost half a million visitors within the next seven or eight years will come to the region either on a day trip or on an overnight stay.
“We’re part way through that journey.
“It’s only going to increase in importance and I think for businesses in the region they’ve already got a world class offering in services so how do you take that to the next level now.
“The region has everything that Chinese visitors are looking for.
“Part of this program is to make sure businesses are ready and can take that next step in terms of their customer service, cultural capabilities, the nuanced nature of their business and making sure it’s a seamless visitor experience through online platforms, mobile payments cultural etiquette.”
Warrnambool City Council Manager Economic Development and Investment Shaun Miller said state government funding had led to an Australian-first business mentoring program to help local businesses capitalise on the Chinese tourism industry.
The China Host Program will see a core of Great Ocean Road businesses take part in a series of high-level workshops and activities to create the industry-leading services and experiences that will help take Chinese tourism in the region to the next level.