Industry group helps retailers prepare for Chinese tourism boom
The Collins Street Precinct Group (CSPG) in partnership with the City of Melbourne, yesterday hosted a breakfast event aimed at giving Melbourne city retailers the tools they need to engage successfully with the ever-expanding Chinese tourism market.
The China-Ready Business Breakfast, which took place at the Melbourne Town Hall was designed to inform, inspire and build knowledge around engaging with Chinese consumers. It also introduced attendees to the three largest Chinese mobile payment platforms – Alipay, UnionPay and WeChat Pay.
The importance of this market to city retailers was demonstrated by compelling visitation figures, which demonstrate just how big the Chinese market already is, with continued growth forecast.
Alipay country manager George Lawson shared forecast figures from Australia China Business Council, estimating that 3.3 million annual Chinese tourists are expected to visit Australia by 2026, with the potential to be worth $13 billion by 2020.
Andrew Gardiner, Melbourne Airport’s chief of retail, reported that China has been Melbourne’s largest international market since 2015, with one in five arriving visitors coming from China. The number is expected to grow to one in four by 2020.
Tom Parker, partner at Chinese specialist marketing agency, Bastion China, also presented some compelling figures, showing that on average Chinese tourists spend $8,300 per visit, with 40 per cent of this spent on retail.
Parker also highlighted the fact that it’s not just inbound tourists retailers need to cater for, it’s also the local Chinese community, international students and their visiting friends and relatives. Defining who your target market is, and which platforms they use is important, and a multi-platform approach is worth considering.
Other speakers at the event included Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Sally Capp and Ian Wang, head of brand, marketing & merchant acceptance at UnionPay.
According to the Lord Mayor, understanding and catering to the fast growing Chinese market is vital to the economic growth and ongoing prosperity of the City of Melbourne.
“Providing the city’s small businesses with the tools and know-how to attract and engage with Chinese tourists is an essential step in harnessing this growth and positioning ourselves as a must-visit destination,” she said.
“We need to ensure we stay one step ahead of this highly lucrative market. Arming our businesses with the relevant tools for tapping into this market not only benefits them, but the wider city as a whole.
“The City of Melbourne is proud to support the Collins Street Precinct through our Precinct Development Program and we were thrilled to see such a diverse mix of City of Melbourne businesses at the event. We had everyone from large retail chains, high end luxury brands, hotels, locally owned independent retailers and restaurant and cafes owners, through to representatives from leading property and financial institutions.”
The event is the first of the CSPG’s 2018-19 program of activities. It forms part of a multi-faceted ‘Collins Street Look.Stop.Luxe. for Chinese New Year 2019 campaign which includes both B2B events and a consumer marketing campaign.
According to Alister Reid, president of the CSPG, these activities are aimed at giving members the skills and tools they need to provide more meaningful and effective visitor experiences.
“Although many retailers throughout the city have seen a large increase in Chinese visitors through their door, we realised that many are not equipped to service them properly and are therefore losing potential revenue.”
“We are extremely pleased with the outcomes of our first ever China-Ready Business Breakfast. The level of interest in this event clearly demonstrates the appetite for this kind of information within the city’s retail scene,” Reid said.
Established in 1993, the CSPG is a not-for-profit, recognised trader organisation in the City of Melbourne. The aim of the group is to position Collins Street Melbourne as Australia’s premier destination to visit and do business. In July this year, the Group announced a new committee and launched a new brand and strategic direction.