Talking Points | Chinese Tourism Market

Key points:

  • Worldwide tourism is the largest and fastest-growing industry in the global economy
  • China National Tourism Administration (CNTA): Tourism is booming in China
  • Tourism Australia: China is Australia’s most valuable Tourism market
  • The South China Tourism market is promising

Tourism is an important channel for communication and mutual learning between different countries and cultures, and is an effective means of developing the economy and increasing employment. In recent years, the rapid growth of the world tourism industry has caused it to become the largest and fastest-growing industry in the global economy. 

The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) is a Chinese government authority responsible for the development of China’s tourism and is directly affiliated with the State Council. Since it leads the market development strategies of domestic and international tourism, it serves as a key tourism institution in China.

Before examining Australia’s role, let’s take a look at China’s largest online travel agency, Founded in 1999, the company works with Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning to provide travel services, including accommodation reservations, transportation ticketing, packaged tours, and corporate travel management. has invested significantly in mobile technology, with this technology being a main channel for the rise of Chinese tourism. “At present, only 6 per cent of the Chinese population owns a passport, but the govern­ment issues 10 million new documents each year. This means there is plenty of scope for growth.” 


South China Morning Post

Tourism Australia is the Government of Australia agency responsible for promoting Australia to the world as a destination for business and leisure travel. In 2014, Tourism Australia launched its Key Distributor Partner Program in China composed of targeted travel companies, including wholesalers, retailers, and online travel agencies. The KDP Program’s main objective was to increase the total booking value of visitors to Australia.

Each KDP is selected based on how well they fit with Tourism Australia’s overall marketing strategy. The objectives of the KDP Program are:

  • To select and appoint key outbound travel agencies in China which represent a benchmark of quality in the China travel industry.
  • To demonstrate a model for the China travel industry on how to promote Australia as a destination through sustainable business practices and quality product development targeting the FIT and premium segments in particular.
  • To leverage KDPs’ strong influence and distribute networks to better serve TA’s China 2020 strategy.

In 2017/18, there were 36 travel agencies/wholesalers appointed as Tourism Australia’s KDPs. These agencies are located in eight key cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Chongqing and Chengdu.


What are the key business opportunities and challenges in South China?

China is Australia’s largest and most valuable tourism market:

  • South China is a relatively mature market in terms of product development and consumer travel behavior. Travel experiences such as hired vehicles and golf have become popular niche markets in recent years. However, these markets remain relatively small compared to the more traditional sectors of the recreational activity market.
  • Premium travel is a new niche trend with big potential.
  • There are many education agencies that focus on the student market, and offer short or long-term study options in Australia with recreational activity components included. These agencies do not fall within the tourism distribution network.

Finally, Tourism Australia recently signed strategic deals with Cathay Pacific and The three-year marketing agreement with Cathay Pacific is aimed at promoting Australia to high yielding business events for professionals in China.

With, Tourism Australia will establish a dedicated Australia travel page on the organization’s app that provides Chinese consumers with information and products from Tourism Australia’s Key Distribution Partners in China.

Sources : The Blue Swan Daily / Tourism Australia /  Austrade