WA says Ni Hao to Chinese tourists in new travel venture

WA says Ni Hao to Chinese tourists in new travel venture

Fri, 28/09/2018 - 12:40
Hutt Lagoon

Ni Hao WA will incorporate Geraldton's Hutt Lagoon - an emerging favourite for Chinese travellers - into three-day trips from January. Photo: Tourism WA

Western Australia’s biggest tour operator is launching a new platform to source Chinese tourists directly from mainland China and deliver them to the state’s best attractions and destinations.

ADAMS Perth has partnered with Chinese inbound tour operator Aus Highway Services to create Ni HAO WA Tours, a luxury tour platform that will take visitors around some of WA’s most spectacular attractions, including the Pinnacles Desert, Wave Rock, Margaret River and Hutt Lagoon, otherwise known as Geraldton’s Pink Lake.

From November, Ni HAO WA Tours will launch on all variety of social media, including WeChat and Weibo, as well as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, with the social channels to be complemented by a dedicated website and presences on Chinese travel platforms Ctrip and Fliggy.

Managing director Adam Barnard said Ni HAO WA Tours would feature Chinese-speaking guides and drivers and were developed with the new generation of Chinese traveller in mind – those seeking unique experiences and freedom of travel.

He said the first day tour services would be launched in mid-November, with three-day itineraries to incorporate emerging Chinese tourist favourites Kalbarri and Geraldton to follow in January.

“In the beginning, we were looking to incorporate it into our day tour product that we run now, Adams Pinnacle Tours, but we are finding that the Chinese travellers that are coming here don’t have as developed English skills as we’d like, so we definitely see increasing demand tied in with the increased flights from China for a luxury operation using our fleet of vehicles,” Mr Barnard said.

“The only other options at the moment are a very small and scattered array of small operations, who probably don’t have the systems in place to upscale, so that’s where I think our opportunity really lies.

“The other thing is that as the largest tourism operator here in WA, we can push them across our network, over to Rottnest Island, we can do all of the touring components on Rottnest and we have our own staff over there.”

Mr Barnard said Chinese visitation to Western Australia was starting to increase, with the natural attributes of the state becoming sought after by China’s mobile younger generation.

Mr Barnard said the establishment of a dedicated China-focused touring platform had been in the works for some time, and had advanced quickly since the company was approached by Aus Highway Services.

Aus Highway Services has been operating in WA for around 10 years, while Mr Barnard said their knowledge of the China market was comprehensive.

“We work with several inbound tour operators in China, but Aus Highway were the first to approach us as we were considering the idea,” Mr Barnard said.

“They were a natural fit, we work with other Chinese inbound tour operators as well and we want that to continue, because this is just one part of the tourism picture.”

Increasing Chinese tourism has been a high-priority for the WA government, which is investing heavily on marketing the state in key Chinese markets while also pursuing additional airline capacity.

China is the world's fastest-growing outbound tourism market, wiht more than 130 million Chinese making overseas trips in 2017, a record-high.

Total spending by those travellers reached $US115.3 billion ($160 billion), according to a report by Ctrip and the China Tourism Academy.

The WA state government recently announced a $30 million commitment to fund a partnership between Tourism WA and Perth Airport to establish new direct routes, with more China flights a top priority.

“It’s very significant that we will actually be bringing people in ourselves as part of this venture,” Mr Barnard said.

“We’ll be assisting Tourism WA and the WA government achieve their goals by bringing people in.”  

Mr Barnard said a dedicated tour operation using ADAMS’ fleet of vehicles would also address safety issues associated with inexperienced Chinese self-drive tourists, who drive on the right side of the road in their home country, exploring WA’s isolated country roads.

“I think that’s a real major factor in the emerging Chinese tourism scene, the fact that they come from the other side of the road and generally don’t have as much experience in driving as potentially other source markets for the state,” he said.

“We see the China market as fairly immature, particularly for Western Australia, and combined with our roads, kangaroos, conditions and speed, serious accidents will happen if they are on the roads in big numbers, which we are having on the eastern seaboard by the way.

“This has a highly elevated risk attached, so that’s part of the reason why we are looking at this.”