Push to grow China tourism

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton Air Charter chief pilot Wendy Mann shares advice about Chinese tourism.
Camera IconGeraldton Air Charter chief pilot Wendy Mann shares advice about Chinese tourism. Credit: Francesca Mann

Local business owners and tourism operators had the chance to learn how to tap into the Chinese tourism market in a workshop at Batavia Marine Institute on Monday.

The free workshop, organised by Progress Midwest and run by Tourism Council WA, aims at assisting businesses in their quest to becoming China Ready, an accreditation endorsed by the Chinese Government.

Thirty-five attendees spent the day learning about the cultural differences between China and Australia, and the importance of growing the market in the Mid West.

Funded through the Great Geraldton Growth Plan, the workshop was an initiative highlighted at a tourism cluster workshop earlier this year.

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Regional Development Australia Midwest co-ordinator Barbara Thompson said the region already appealed to Chinese tourists.

“There’s Chinese visitors coming to town and we need to be more aware of their needs so we can serve them better,” she said.

“They’re keen to visit; we have beautiful pristine beaches and coastline, amazing colours in our outback and they find WA very warm and hospitable.

“For economic and community development, it’s a win-win.”

At the end of the workshop, business owners had the opportunity to apply for their personal China Ready accreditation, which required completing an assessment.

When at least one person in the business has been accredited, the business is then able to apply.

Geraldton Air Charter chief pilot and guest speaker Wendy Mann, who was the first business in Geraldton to become accredited, shared some of her tips and tricks with the crowd.

Mrs Mann regularly flies Chinese tourists over the Abrolhos Islands and Pink Lake.

“We need to recognise the many cultural differences between China and Australia,” she said.

“One of the most important parts for them is taking photos, so allow time in their itinerary to take photos. They like showing off experiences on WeChat, which is their equivalent of Facebook.”

Mrs Mann also noted that although many Chinese tourists can speak English, they like speaking in their native tongue.

To assist business owners with learning the complex language, Central Regional TAFE will offer basic Mandarin lessons in 2017.

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