Australian Tourism Exhange (ATE) Melbourne 2015 – Things I Learnt

ATE Melbourne 2015 - Things I Learnt
ATE-Melbourne-2015

ATE-Melbourne-2015

ATE Melbourne 2015 – Things I Learnt

 

After having recently attended the Australian Tourism Exchange in Melbourne, one big thing that I came away with is that things are changing faster than ever before in the Chinese market.

 

Now that we are settling well into the digital age, and we are seeing the new generation raised in this era starting to travel independently, the game has changed forever.

 

Now, in the past some similarities had been drawn by people in the tourism industry between Chinese and Japan’s trend of development. Since the Japanese started travelling much earlier than the Chinese, many believed that the trend would not only follow the same path, but the same time span.

 

However, what they have failed to take into account is that we are now living in a time where an abundance of information is available at any time, literally by the touch of a finger on a phone. The rate of change that we are seeing in tourism as a result of this is staggering.

 

While only a year ago, some travel agents were resting on their laurels in the hopes that their group business would continue ‘as is’ for the next 5-8 years, they are now having to look outside the box for new ideas, products, itineraries to give them an edge over their competitors.

 

Some agents have reported a big shift in FIT focus as their group to FIT traveller ratio went from 80/20 to 50/50 over less than two years! Agents purely dedicated to the FIT market and adventure activities are popping up, while agents who relied solely on traditional group business are now in catch – up mode.

 

So, what does all this mean for Australian tourism suppliers? Big opportunities! However, it also brings with it great challenges. Our products and marketing have to move and advance with the changing face and requirements of the Chinese when comparing to the rest of the world, or we will simply be left behind.

 

The fact is, that the consumers are driving the demand for change. Change is happening fast.  Tourism Australia has been focussing their Chinese campaigns on the FIT market in anticipation of a doubling of expenditure from this market by 2020, and as the Chinese traveller dares to dig deeper into their travel experience, it opens up a whole new range of opportunity for us to enter the market and get a piece of the action.

 

The only question is, are we ready for it?

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mitchell Callander is a freelance Chinese marketing consultant specializing in the Asian markets, specifically China, Japan, Korea and India. He speaks fluent mandarin, conversational Japanese and is developing an online social media based channel completely in mandarin, called Strange Rice TV.

The Emerging Chinese FIT Market

The Emerging Chinese FIT Market
Chinese FIT enjoy a scenic helicopter flight off Green Island

Chinese FIT enjoy a scenic helicopter flight off Green Island

Traditionally, when the Chinese traveler comes to one’s mind, we tend to think of those large groups of 20-30 mid to late age tourists, diligently following their tour guide from attraction to attraction, on the bus, off the bus, marching the streets while squawking loudly in mandarin, Cantonese or their preferred dialect. These tour groups generally speak little to no English, are controlled by ‘duty free shopping’ (hence the name ‘gou wu tuan’ ‘shopping tour group’) and rarely interact with local Australians, let alone really step out of their comfort zone. In fact, it is not widely known that a lot of the time they are purposefully kept away from anywhere they can spend their money, as agents  book the most isolated hotels available.

However, there is a new, emerging wave of independent, young adventurers Chinese on the horizon, and these come with very different needs and attitudes.

Since China opened up to the west in 1980, these new generation Chinese have been exposed to Western culture, through study or travel overseas, learning English at school, social media and have started adapting new western habits.

Tea is out, coffee is in. Forget about Tai Chi, yoga is the new trend. Shopping tours, too, are now being increasingly scrapped in favor of a more bold, independent approach to travel.

With a myriad of available information at their fingertips, a new found confidence in English and evermore influenced by TV shows and travel programs featuring activities which the ‘traditional’ Chinese traveler would never consider, this new generation is ready to step outside the previous confined boundaries of the packaged group itinerary.

Popular blog sharing sites such as ‘qiong you wang’ (think Chinese trip advisor) and ‘mifeng’ are enabling a platform to share travelers information like never before. Also, with a ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ attitude, everyone wants to jump aboard new travel trends.

Travel agencies have had to respond quickly to this demand, by setting up their own ‘FIT’ (Free Independent Traveler) departments and designing new flexible itineraries for fear of missing out. Some have even reported going from 80/20 group/ FIT to half of their market becoming FIT within a 2 year period!

These FIT customers will tend to travel in smaller groups of 2-10 people, have a better level of English, be well – learned and usually have done a fair amount of research before choosing their tour.

Considering that we have just signed an agreement to invite 5000 Chinese working holiday visas per year, and the massive influx of Chinese students entering Australia and the many settling here, the future looks extremely bright for the FIT Chinese market. Jump aboard!!!

 

Mitchell-Callander-Avatar
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mitchell Callander is a freelance Chinese marketing consultant specializing in the Asian markets, specifically China, Japan, Korea and India. He speaks fluent mandarin, conversational Japanese and is developing an online social media based channel completely in mandarin, called Strange Rice TV.

Chinese Flying High On Skydiving

Chinese Flying High On Skydiving

Chinese Flying High On Skydiving

When I began consulting for Skydive Australia not even a year ago (as I write this article), I was met with remarks from peers in the industry that ‘it won’t work,’ ‘Chinese people aren’t adventurous’ and even that ‘they don’t have time in their itinerary.’

However, after having worked in a local travel agency catering specifically to the Chinese/ HK/ Taiwan markets prior to taking on the challenge, I knew that the Chinese had already developed an appetite for Skydive and that this was just the beginning!

Firstly, the Taiwanese and HK backpackers and working holiday makers are already crazy for Skydiving. It is one of their ‘bucket list’ items which they often fulfill before returning back to their homeland to resume ‘life as usual.’ It took a period of about five years to get to this point for them.

So, it is only natural to see that this popularity will spill over to the mainland Chinese, which by nature follows trends set by Taiwan.

Since my representation of Skydive Australia at the Australian Tourism Exchange 2014 (which was, fittingly for me, in Cairns), we have seen a huge influx in popularity from Chinese groups and FIT market via our engagement with travel agents.

Previously, agents who were at first not interested have been suddenly approaching us, as their customers start to steer the demand for skydiving by request.

Nearly one year later, and Skydive as a product has already been accepted along with any other product as a viable selling option. The original tentativeness shown by agents has been replaced by a keen interest, as they learn more about the product and the safety aspects of it.

With the burgeoning youth Chinese market, adventure experience companies such as Skydive Australia can expect ever – increasing numbers of Chinese customers keen to step out of their comfort zone and really experience what life has to offer them other than work.

 

Mitchell-Callander-Avatar
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mitchell Callander is a freelance Chinese marketing consultant specializing in the Asian markets, specifically China, Japan, Korea and India. He speaks fluent mandarin, conversational Japanese and is developing an online social media based channel completely in mandarin, called Strange Rice TV.

Mitch & Clint – Talk Snorkeling & Diving The Great Barrier Reef


VIDEO – FREE helpful tips on choosing a snorkel or dive tour in Cairns & Port Douglas! With Clint Carroll & Mitch Callander

Mitch & Clint – Talk Snorkeling & Diving The Great Barrier Reef

With the Great Barrier Reef being on top of most people’s bucket list. Mitch Calendar and myself decided we should try and attempt a little conversational style video. We wanted to try and help people figure out how to choose the very best day tour to The Great Barrier Reef from either Cairns or Port Douglas in Australia.

 

Most of our conversations always start out with can you swim? This might sound like a funny question, but in this modern day of 2015 there are still many people in the world who do not swim. We have found this is mainly due to most people’s location to the ocean. For example if you live in the middle of a large country often hundreds of miles away from the sea, we find that allot of people don’t actually swim very much! Makes sense right!

 

Another question we commonly get is, which is the best reef to visit? Now the only way to honestly answer this is, you have to go and visit the reef many times! At just over 2800klm long and roughly 45/50klm wide. The Great Barrier Reef is made up of thousands of smaller reef systems that all vary in shape, size, coral growth and fish species.

 

Ad to the equation different times of the year and weather patterns, you really just have to get out there as much as possible to try and gain a solid understanding of what this giant living organism is. At just over 400 dives myself I’m still finding new species of fish and corals that I have never seen before. I don’t tell people this to boast, but to let you know that even after hundreds of hours of diving on the Great Barrier Reef you will still be finding new species of fish and coral.

 

Extending up from the Southern end of the reef down near Bundaberg right the way up to the Northern end at the tip of Cape York and beyond. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living organism on the planet.

 

So with this in mind, if you have 5 minutes spare, actually its about 6 minutes watch our little informative dive travel video. We have tried to cover the main options you should think about when trying to choose a Great Barrier Reef tour from either Cairns or Port Douglas in Australia. We hope you find something useful!

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clint Carroll is an adventure travel enthusiast, travel blogger, avid scuba diver and founder of Greenbuddy.com.au. based in Cairns, Australia. Connect with Clint on Twitter.

Spectacular TUFI Resort Diving – Papua New Guinea

Spectacular TUFI Resort Diving - Papua New Guinea

All Photos © Copyright Clint Carroll – 2015

A place that is very close to my heart is a small little village called TUFI in Papua New Guinea. A small remote village community located on the Eastern side of Papua New Guinea, only a 45min flight from the Capital Port Moresby. TUFI has about 2000 local people living in the surrounding rain-forest covered mountains and fjords.

TUFI is located on the edge of the only fjords found in Papua New Guinea, they offer spectacular views when arriving by Dash-8 Aeroplane from Port Moresby.

This was my 5th visit to TUFI over the years and an absolutely fantastic experience each and every single time.

I had the opportunity to Dive TUFI’s spectacular Fjords looking for all sorts of little critters like blue ringed octopus, nudibranchs, mandarine fish and ghost pipe fish.

With fantastic diving in the Fjords and calm blue seas we headed out to the very outer reef systems from TUFI. Located just over 45 min from TUFI we experienced spectacular wall diving on Mullaway and Cyclone Reefs.

A little closer to shore Honeymoon and Stuarts Reefs where definitely some of the highlights with spectacular coral growth and thousands of fish on the front walls of the reefs.

The local people of TUFI will welcome you with the word Oro! As you venture deep into the jungle inland of McClaren Harbor, the next Fjord North from TUFI. You really get a sense of what it is like to witness a traditional sago making ceremony.

All the children will yell Oro! Oro! Oro! with big smiles and bright colored traditional tribal dress, you are now in TUFI country. Sago is a traditional food made from the local palm trees, a soft white type of dough is made and then cooked with a brisk burning dry palm leaf to create a cooked damper or scone like bread.

Thousands of years have passed creating time honored traditions, taught and handed down from generation to generation.

Together as a community TUFI has the ability to transform your traveling experience. A step back in time to a pristine natural environment, a calmness to settle your mind. A chance to experience amazing natural beauty and perhaps remind you of what life was like on this earth thousands of years ago.

The ultimate way to stay at TUFI is at the only resort in the area TUFI Resort. You can take an Airlines PNG Flight from Port Moresby a 45 minute flight on either a Monday / Wednesday or Friday.

The Resort has modern private en-suite rooms, tea coffee making facilities, they include all meals and is a great place to base yourself for 5 to 7 days of exploring the TUFI region.

Divers have an untouched diving paradise right at the doorsteps to TUFI. Hikers have beautiful walking trails thru small villages along the Fjiords. Birdwatchers have walking trails and boat cruises in the Fjords to look for Wild Papuan Hornbills, Varieties of Kingfisher, Black Palm Cockatoos and the famous Birds of Paradise when you head up into the nearby mountains.

Fisherman are also welcome and can charter a fully rigged fishing boat. Visiting the far northern and southern reefs that are well away from the resorts diving reefs.

For the ultimate cultural experience you can stay at a local village guest house, this will be a once in a life time experience to live with a local family for a night or two. Try local foods and gain an intimate working knowledge of life in the village.

Welcome to the last final frontier, TUFI in Papua New Guinea, Oro Oro Oro!

To find out more please visit – www.tufiresort.com Flights can be booked thru – www.apng.com

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clint Carroll is an adventure travel enthusiast, travel blogger, avid scuba diver and founder of Greenbuddy.com.au. based in Cairns, Australia. Connect with Clint on Twitter.

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