Kingfisher Bay Resort’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Kerry Brough, said the time was right to debut their suite of Fraser Island products to appreciative Asian audiences. As the fastest developing market, Mrs Brough said China presented a fresh growth opportunity for their Fraser Island products, in both the leisure and group series business.
“It’s no secret that our traditional European source markets – Germany, the rest of Europe and the UK - are slow, so it is vital that we look to the emerging and fast-growing Asian markets like China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and India to ensure the sustainability of our businesses in a competitive worldwide tourism market,” she said.
“We see really strong potential from China and have been working the Chinese market for two years with regular visits in-market to wholesale and retail partners.”
“Already this year we have hosted several Chinese family, educational and corporate incentive groups; we are preparing Chinese language guides and marketing collateral; are reworking our menu offerings; and we are currently producing a website in Mandarin and dedicated social media sites including Weibo.”
“Feedback from these Chinese operators about the Fraser Island experience tells us we have an extremely marketable product on our hands.”
The move by Kingfisher Bay Resort comes at a time when Tourism Australia and Tourism Queensland are also aggressively targeting the lucrative Chinese and Indian markets with multi-million dollar marketing campaigns. Tourism Australia is also undertaking joint marketing activities with China’s second largest airline to promote Cairns and the Tropical North as a must-do destination.
According to Tourism Australia Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy*, last year Asian travellers represented more than 40 per cent of Australia’s total international visitor numbers – a result, he says, is unprecedented.
“Asia will generate close to $19 billion a year by 2020 for Australian tourism, with China, our most valuable international tourism export market, remaining the key driver,” Mr McEvoy said.
A little closer to home, Wide Bay Institute of TAFE has been delivering Mandarin Chinese courses since 2009 and the courses continue to grow in popularity for students studying hospitality – a move Kerry Brough brands as very forward thinking.
Kerry says that the lynchpin of the resort group’s own strategy for Fraser Island was the appointment an Asian expert to spearhead their charge into China and to assist with getting the product right on the ground.
“We’re recruited a highly experienced Asian Specialist - Laurel Zhang - into a newly-created sales role, where she will primarily be responsible for developing Free Independent Traveller (FIT) and accommodation business in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South-East Asia,” she said.
Laurel, who is proficient in Cantonese, Mandarin and English, joins the Fraser Island team fresh from a similar role with Quicksilver Connections in Cairns and was also responsible for setting up the Cairns Integrated Chinese Branding Group (CICBG) which organised group marketing events in China.
“These are interesting times in tourism and we now need to turn our attention to educating our workforce about the cultural nuances to ensure we’re ready to host our Chinese visitors – Laurel is going to be a huge help in making sure we get it just right,” Mrs Brough said.
Kingfisher Bay’s Resort General Manager, Warwick Kahl, has spent some time living and working in Indonesia and Thailand and welcomes the move to chase business from South-East Asia.
“The opportunity for our region to host Asian groups celebrating Chinese New Year is very exciting and we are hopeful that it will result in repeat visitation by FITs at other times of the year,” he said.
*Source: ‘Tourism Australia welcomes news of China flights for Cairns’.
Note to Editors
Tourism Queensland International Visitor Data