Tourism Australia Launches Campaign to Attract Travellers from China

Tourism Australia, an Australia-based government agency for promoting Australian tourism, is introducing its last leg of a worldwide marketing campaign, ‘There’s nothing like Australia’, in China.

The agency reports that China is a valuable overseas tourism market, and this part of the campaign will cost around AUD180 million, and will be completed within the next three years.

The campaign will be focusing on digital and social media, and the agency will also be offering a new interactive tablet app, along with a hub on, to make customers aware of the campaign.

Tourism Australia managing director, Andrew McEvoy, said, ‘When we first launched ‘There’s nothing like Australia’ in May 2010, it was built to last and designed to be flexible. Now is the right time to evolve the campaign to remain competitive and long lasting in a fast-changing global tourism environment.

This new campaign creative – particularly the locations and how they have been shot – clearly demonstrate Australia’s distinctive and high quality tourism products and experiences that are amongst the world’s finest.

Promoting your best attributes is a strong and proven marketing principle. By leading with Australia’s best the campaign will create a positive halo effect for Australian tourism more broadly, particularly through the digital elements which will allow us to go deeper and showcase a broader range of experiences to cater for all travellers and different budgets.’

The campaign will be highlighting special Australian attractions, including the Bungle Bungles in The Kimberley, Sydney’s harbour, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef’s Lizard and Hayman Islands, Freycinet in Tasmania and Kangaroo Island in South Australia.


Marriott Announces 250th Asian Hotel

Marriott International, an American-based worldwide operator and franchiser of a broad portfolio of hotels and related lodging facilities, has announced its 250th hotel in Asia.

The milestone property is located in Bo’ao, China and is part of Marriott’s 129 open hotels and 121 development projects on the Asian continent. When completed, the properties will provide 75,000 rooms across 15 countries. Marriott International operates seven brands across Asia – The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Bulgari, Renaissance, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard and Marriott Executive Apartments, providing a broad range of accommodation options from luxury to mid-scale.

Simon Cooper, Marriott International’s president and managing director for the Asia Pacific region said, ‘We are delighted to have reached 250 hotels in Asia and are looking forward to continued growth in the region. We are seeing growth across all countries in Asia and in the past few weeks have signed landmark hotels in key locations including Macau, Vietnam and India. We continue to see excellent growth in China where we now have more than 100 open and signed hotels, and expect to open on average one hotel a month in the country for at least the next three years.’

Cooper added, ‘We see this as a golden age of travel around the world, and our Marriott hotels will be there to welcome all travellers, domestic and international. In the process, we are opening doors to a world of opportunity for our guests and associates alike, by offering great careers to our associates in China and across Asia, while delivering rewarding guest experiences across our growing brand portfolio.’


Solis Hotels and Resorts Announces New Hotel in Lake Tai in China

Solis Hotels and Resorts, a US-based hotel company, will be opening a new luxury property the Solis Lake Tai, Suzhou, in Suzhou, China.

The company is currently developing the 300-room hotel overlooking Lake Tai, and located close to Shanghai. It is expected to open in 2013. The hotel will be offering 250 rooms and suites and 50 villas, two fine dining restaurants, a full-service conference and meeting centre, a lobby lounge, an indoor swimming pool, a spa, a fitness centre, and a roof-top garden.

The hotel reflects the Chinese landscape in its architecture, with design elements of Suzhou’s famous gardens incorporated into the interior.

Evan Kwee, the company director, said, ‘We are honoured to join with Fantasia Holdings to bring Solis to the historic city of Suzhou. Solis Lake Tai, Suzhou will showcase our renowned service standards with distinctive design elements and a host of world-class amenities and innovations.’

Fantasia Holdings Group Co Ltd, a property developer in China, owns the hotel.

Wang Liang, the vice president of the Fantasia Group, said, ‘It is with great anticipation that we announce Solis Lake Tai. This luxury five-star hotel will be the centrepiece of our large-scale Suzhou Lago Paradise along Lake Tai.

Suzhou Lago Paradise is a 500,000-square-meter, mixed-use development within the Lake Tai tourism district, comprising a luxury five-star hotel, lake-view villas, private clubhouses, five-star serviced apartments, a commercial street, and Lake Tai Cultural Forum. Here, culture, the arts, leisure holidays, business meetings, and a natural, carefree lifestyle are melded together with the surroundings. I believe the Solis Lake Tai, Suzhou will deliver a hallmark level of impeccable service.’

Finnair Announces New Route to Chongqing from Helsinki

Finnair, a Finland-based airline, is offering direct connectivity between Europe and inland Chinese destinations.

The airline is to connect Helsinki, the Finnish capital, to Chongqing, one of the fastest-growing cities in China. The new route, the first from any European carrier, is claiming to be the fastest connection between Europe and China.

Chongqing is located in the Tibetan plateau, and has a total population of 32 million, although its population is expected to double in size over the next five years.

The airline chief executive officer, Mika Vehvilainen, said, ‘China is a key part of our Asia-Europe strategy. Western China is an important growth area, and the new route will strengthen our position in the growing Asian markets. I want to thank the Chongqing authorities and the local airport for the excellent cooperation and support for opening this new route. We believe Chongqing has the potential of developing into a hub for travel between Western China and Europe, both for business and leisure travellers.’

Chongqing is the hub of a number of major Chinese industries, as well as for Western companies dealing with electronics, automotive industries and chemicals. Chongqing Airport has recently opened 140 routes to around 80 cities in China and Asia, and continues to expand at a rapid pace.

The Finnish airline is flying Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft on the new route, covering the distance in eight and a half hours. Other Chinese destinations served by Finnair are daily flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong from Helsinki.

Birmingham Airport to Commence Flights to China

Birmingham Airport, located close to the city of Birmingham, has announced plans for new services to China.

The airport is hoping to offer new routes between England and China once a runway extension is completed at the airport. The airport runway extension is scheduled for completion in 2014.

The airport chief executive officer, Paul Kehoe, recently visited Chengdu, in China, for the Routes Asia Aviation Conference, and has been exploring the possibility of airlines offering direct flights to Birmingham from China.

Kehoe said, ‘We hear so much from BAA about the UK losing lucrative new routes because of the capacity constraints at Heathrow but the south-east isn’t the only solution.

Our runway extension will allow aircraft to fly direct from China, bringing investment to the region, and giving airlines and passengers an alternative to battling with London’s congestion problems. We now need the UK government to endorse Birmingham airport, when it releases its aviation policy review later this year, as a national airport that can offer a rapid and cost-effective solution to the aviation gap.

Our runway extension is already under construction and will be complete early in 2014. The UK government has said there will be no additional runway capacity for flights into London; it is therefore critical for airports such as Birmingham to deliver direct long-haul flights and this kind of positive commercial discussion paves the way for that to happen.’

Birmingham Airport is currently serving around nine million passengers every year, and is expected to increase its traffic to 36 million by 2030, with more investment in the company’s infrastructure.

Chinese airlines refuse to pay EU carbon charge

China’s four leading airlines are refusing to pay a carbon dioxide tax under the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Becoming the latest in a list of international carriers who are refusing to pay the tax.


In a bid to combat carbon emissions the ETS charges were introduced on Sunday, this means all airlines using EU airports are expected to comply with the cap-and-trade scheme.


Deputy secretary-general of the China Air Transport Association (CATA), Cai Haibo said: “China will not cooperate with the European Union on the ETS, so Chinese airlines will not impose surcharges on customers relating to the emissions tax”.


The new ETS system requires airlines flying to or from Europe to obtain carbon dioxide emission certificates. By doing so they will get free credits to cover the majority of flights this year, however must buy or trade for credits to cover the rest.


Airlines could face fines of 100 euros (£83) by EU law, for each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted that the airlines have not surrendered carbon allowances. If airlines continually break the law the EU can ban the operator.


In December a ruling from Europe’s highest court decided that the airlines were to comply with the ETS, this news came immediately after a news agency warned of a trade war in China’s state-run Xinhua.


The country join the U.S. who have warned of a possible retaliation, the U.S. Congress have drafted a law in which it proposes to make it illegal to comply with the EU legislation.


Cai announced in response to its carbon emission charges Chinese airlines may consider taking legal action against the EU. However U.S. airlines lost their legal battle in December.


The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg dismissed arguments that their latest system infringes national sovereignty or violates aviation treaties.


China however, may have unusually strong leverage in its dispute against Europe because its state-owned airlines carry vast amounts of Chinese and other Asian tourists to Europe.


CATA have estimated that the ETS will cost Chinese airlines a shocking 800 million yuan (£79 million) in the first year, and by 2020 the figure will have more than tripled.


Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh

Malaysian Tourists Flock to China, Taiwan

Asia’s tourism giants appear to be on the rebound, but not because of the tourists we’re used to. An impressive twenty-eight percent increase in the amount of Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia has the country’s tourism board ecstatic at its marketing efforts. Malaysia is one of several East Asian states to have invested heavily in tourism advertising over the past five years, particularly in China.

The country is also home to a large domestic Chinese population. While Malaysia remains under the control of its native Malay government, the country’s large Chinese population and consistent culture make it a simple holiday destination for Chinese citizens. With a semi-shared language and similar customs, the Southeast Asian country is becoming more popular with package tourists.

It’s an improvement that’s bilateral – China’s borders have seen an increase in Malaysian visitors over the past year, many of whom visit the giant country to see family and friends. The countries share a great deal of cultural similarities, making the somewhat lengthy journey one that’s steeped with familiar sights and customs. Arrivals between the two countries recently hit one-million.

Malaysia’s increasingly wealthy population is also taking kindly to Taiwan, with direct holidays on the island relatively inexpensive due to low-cost fares and package deals. While businesses fear the relationship between Taipei and Kuala Lumpur could worsen economic development with mainland China, most economists are sceptical that increased tourism could affect Chinese investment.

As the two country’s have both experienced rapid economic growth over the last two decades, the increase in tourism spending could pave the way for further investment and development. China has previously voiced its interest in cooperating with ASEAN countries on tourism and infrastructure projects – a potential multi-billion dollar partnership between the high-growth nations.

PRC Supports Travel to Taiwan, Needs Time to Prepare Official Policy

Relations between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan have typically been tense. The large communist country – the world’s largest by population – has generally grouped Taiwan inside of its own borders, claiming that the country’s territory belongs to China and its government is operating within the country illegally. Taiwan, on the other hand, has kept its independence from the PRC.

Surprisingly, a new policy supporting individual travel to the island nation has emerged, granting residents of mainland China the opportunity to travel to Taiwan alone. While the Chinese national government is not supportive of Taiwan’s efforts to remain independent, it wishes to bridge gaps in the two countries’ cultures by encouraging travel to the island.

Chinese citizens are currently banned from travelling to Taiwan alone, due to government fears that they may remain on the island illegally. Group tours are available for Chinese citizens, giving those from the country’s eastern regions the opportunity to visit Taiwan on a limited visa. Taipei recently held a travel fair encouraging Chinese tourism, which attracted over 100,000 mainland visitors.

A new policy for Sino-Taiwan travel is on the way, although government officials believe it could be some time before anything resembling a complete bill is passed. Due to China’s rapid economic development, more citizens than ever are gaining an interest in international travel. Tours to Hong Kong and Macau, the country’s two Special Economic Regions, is increasing every year.

For Taiwan, the link in tourism reflects an increasingly friendly turn in relations between the two countries. Cross-strait tourism operators are positive that the change will bring benefits to Taiwan and China, claiming that an increase in cultural understanding will pave the wave for cross-strait economic partnerships and an increase in tourism revenues.

Beyond the Skyscrapers: We Check Out Hong Kong’s Best Beaches

Think Hong Kong and you’ll probably think of skyscrapers, luxury shopping, and some of the best restaurants in the world. And you’d be right. The city is known for its skyline and shopping chops, bringing in millions of tourists annually with no plans beyond moving from boutique to boutique, filling their suitcases and emptying their wallets in the process.

But there’s more to Hong Kong than the tech-heavy city. Dotted along the peninsula are some of the world’s most impressive beaches, each benefiting from Hong Kong’s unique atmosphere and heavy dose of tropical heat. Better yet, due to the limited amount of knowledge amongst tourists, the city’s beaches are all but completely unvisited, offering exclusivity and comfortable swimming spots.

As tempting as it may be to start on the Kowloon Peninsula, the territory’s best beaches are tucked away on the far side of Hong Kong Island. Take the MRT from Tsim Tsha Tsui over to Central and hire a cab, asking for ‘Tsung Wan’ – one of the island’s more popular beaches. In summer, the beach is one of the clearest and most comfortable in Hong Kong, offering a pretty view of the city.

For something a little more exotic, visit Lantau Island and Cheung Sha – the city’s windsurfing and recreational centre. Unlike the beaches that dot Hong Kong island, Cheung Sha receives more wind than many expect, making it an ideal location for surfing and on-water sports. Lifeguards and safety services are present, making this beach an ideal location for improving your swimming skills.

Other convenient locations include Repulse Bay – another small beach on the city’s island. While all beaches offer a reasonable escape from Hong Kong’s immense heat and amazing population density, we’re fans of the more remote offerings. For an alternative to shopping and photo-shooting, there’s nothing better than a day of rest, relaxation, and swimming at Tsung Wan.

Has Shanghai’s Rapid Development Hurt Traditional Tourist Sites?

Just twenty years ago, Shanghai’s bustling central business district was made up of small processing plants and farming communities. Today, Pudong is home to some of the world’s largest corporations and financial companies, with multinational firms competing for office space in some of the world’s largest towers. Is it pretty? Not quite. But it is the future, particularly for China’s business centres.

It’s a scene that’s becoming increasingly common across China’s eastern seaboard. With the country in a state of rapid development and its previously sheltered economy opened up to investment, this image of ultra-quick growth it one that’s ubiquitous throughout China. In most ways, it’s a fantastic achievement, but it’s also becoming a reason for tourism industry operators to begin to worry.

Rewind twenty years and Shanghai becomes a distinctly shorter city. The central district’s offices top out at ten stories, with farmland dominating the horizon and small shops bringing in almost all of the city’s revenue. It’s an idyllic tourist paradise, but it’s one that is almost completely invisible just twenty years later. Shanghai is growing, for lack of a better term, on steroids.

Some fear that it will kill the city’s tourist industry, as cultural locations and historical buildings are wiped off the map in favour of large office complexes and high-tech transport services. Others take a different approach to China’s rapid inner-city development, claiming that a high-tech centre will attract visitors in a similar fashion to that seen in Hong Kong.

For China’s small but dedicated historical tourism industry, it’s a major setback. With demand for accommodation within the city at a high point, it should be a victory for China’s tourism operators, particularly those in Shanghai. But alongside the rapid growth and economic development is a lack of care, one that’s been preserved in historical high-growth cities such as Hong Kong and Tokyo.