Report detects areas to lure Asian tourist dollar

Emily AceSouth Western Times
Yan Lyu from the Bunbury - Jiaxing Business Office, Christof Pforr from Curtin University, Alan Duncan from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, Rebecca Ball from the South West Development Commission, Michael Volgger from Curtin University, panelist Dee Smith and Catrin Allsop from Australia’s South West attend the report release in Busselton.
Camera IconYan Lyu from the Bunbury - Jiaxing Business Office, Christof Pforr from Curtin University, Alan Duncan from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, Rebecca Ball from the South West Development Commission, Michael Volgger from Curtin University, panelist Dee Smith and Catrin Allsop from Australia’s South West attend the report release in Busselton.

While the South West’s natural beauty, food and wine offerings are major drawcards for Asian tourists, a report released yesterday identified several areas of opportunity to ensure visitor numbers to the region are boosted.

The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, South West Development Commission and Australia’s South West combined to produce the report South West for Asia: Promoting Tourism product development in Australia’s South West tourism region for Asian markets, which examined the needs of Asian visitors as a critical growth market for the tourism sector.

The report recommends selling the region as a “unique, clean and diverse” natural environment and encouraged operators to develop a system of bespoke “experience-based” itineraries.

It was suggested the region increase its number of iconic attractions and add new food and activity based tourism experiences – including the potential to catch, collect and cook local produce.

Also highlighted was the potential to attract tourists from tropical Asian regions seeking a winter getaway, while restaurants were encouraged to provide multi-language translations on menus.

Lead author Michael Volgger, from Curtin University’s School of Marketing said while most visitors were attracted to the South West’s blue skies and crystal clear waters, many potential visitors required a greater understanding of all the region had to offer.

Australia’s South West chief executive Catrin Allsop said crafting bespoke experiences and additional activities would aim to boost visitation.

“The report provides the tourism industry with clear recommendations to implement over the short to medium term to achieve further visitor growth by promoting and servicing the visitor in a more tailor-made way,” Ms Allsop said.

South West Development Commission acting chief executive Rebecca Ball said she had already met with tourism industry leaders to discuss where the commission should focus future tourism development and marketing activities.

“We will be working further with Australia’s South West and the local tourism industry to capitalise on the opportunities that have been highlighted in this report, complementing the efforts of the wider State Government to target the high growth Asian markets,” she said.

“By teaming up to offer more tailored products and services that appeal to visitors from different cultural backgrounds, not only will the South West benefit, but visitors will also enjoy a more fulfilling experience,” Ms Ball said.

Report co-author associate professor Christof Pforr said China was the main driver of Asian tourists, with 1.25 million visitors to Australia last year.

“The research found that the primary motivation for Asian visitors wanting to visit Australia’s South West was the clean environment, blue skies, beaches, food, scenery and the overall outdoor experience,” Professor Pforr said.

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