One of the biggest trade and corporate business delegations to visit Queensland arrived into the Gold Coast Airport this morning on a specially-chartered China Southern flight, with tourism at the top of its agenda.
Tourism Queensland CEO Anthony Hayes said almost 280 delegates flew into the Gold Coast this morning on a specially-charted China Southern flight to take part in the visit which was led by Executive Vice President of China Southern Air Holding Company and President and CEO of China Southern Airlines Mr Tan Wan’geng.
“This significant familiarisation has been organised by Tourism Queensland in partnership with China Southern Airlines, Gold Coast Tourism, Gold Coast Airport, Brisbane Marketing and Brisbane Airport Corporation, with the support of industry,” Mr Hayes said.
“We are honoured to host the group and look forward to giving them a taste of the best the Gold Coast and Brisbane have to offer over the next four days.
“The delegation is made up of senior airline management, senior executives from China Southern Airlines’ top travel and ticketing agencies and representatives from their largest Chinese corporate clients including Chinese Fortune 500 companies.
“The visit will help build relationships between tourism and corporate business representations from China and Queensland and will give the visiting group first-hand experiences to draw on when they sell south east Queensland to their customers or consider Queensland as part of their future incentive travel plans.”
Executive Vice President of China Southern Air Holding Company and President and CEO of China Southern Airlines Mr Tan Wan’geng said China Southern Airlines had chosen to undertake the familiarisation in Queensland and to host the company’s annual staff and client appreciation event here in the Sunshine State.
“We hope that our clients can see the potential of the Australian market, which is rich with tourist experiences,” Mr Tan said.
“We have been looking forward to our visit, in particular the networking and forming closer business relationships with existing and new Queensland tourism industry contacts, as well as the many tourism experiences the group will undertake.”
Mr Hayes said the delegation would split into three groups, completing three separate itineraries covering the Gold Coast and Brisbane.
“During their time on the Gold Coast, they will enjoy a variety of tourism experiences, from five-star luxury to walking through national parks and rainforests, visiting local theme parks and other themed attractions, a crabbing tour, tasting local cuisine and produce and shopping,” he said.
“While in Brisbane, they plan to visit a local wildlife sanctuary, go shopping in the Queen Street Mall – Brisbane’s premier retail precinct, visit South Bank Parklands, take a cruise along the Brisbane River and do a tour of Parliament House.”
Mr Hayes said the China market was valuable to Queensland with the state having welcomed 202,000 Chinese visitors in the year to September 2011, 17 percent more than the year prior.
“Chinese visitors spent $409 million on their trips to Queensland in the same period, a $73 million increase on the previous year,” Mr Hayes said.
“It’s estimated that by 2016, visitor arrivals from China to Queensland will be as high as 429,000.
“Given the importance of this market, Tourism Queensland released its Project China discussion paper in October on the opportunities and challenges facing the Queensland tourism industry with regards to this market.
“This paper will feed into a strategy to capture a bigger slice of the China market.”