Outdoors, luxury lure Chinese

Outdoors, luxury lure Chinese

Luxury shopping, great eating and safe nature experiences are the keys to attracting Chinese tourists to Perth.

And, according to the Tourism Council's strategy to boost the number of visitors coming to Perth, it is the rising middle-class in China that holds the key.

The strategy, which was released yesterday, said Perth was well-placed to capture this growing slice of the market because it was China's closest "Western" destination.

Despite this - and the additional advantages of time zone and business links - Perth's share of Chinese visitors to Australia was well below destinations such as the Gold Coast.

"Over the next 20 years, economic studies show that tourism will replace the resources sector as the leading source of Australia's future growth," the council said. "For Perth, the key Asian markets are China and South-East Asian countries such as Indonesia.

"The focus of these visitors will be on a quality urban setting that also allows access to the natural environment and outdoor experiences that are unique to Perth.

"Tourism WA's China strategy aims to attract 100,000 Chinese visitors annually by 2020, a 200 per cent increase on current visitor levels. To realise the rapid growth experienced elsewhere in Australia, Perth needs product development strategies targeted specifically to this market."

The strategy paper said it was important to continue negotiating for more direct flights between Perth and Asia.

The council's strategy, which recommends the expansion of the convention centre and the creation of a homegrown "river of lights" event down the Swan, was welcomed by tourism officials.

Tourism WA chief executive Stephanie Buckland said the council should be applauded for its vision.

But Premier Colin Barnett said he was not excited by the river of lights idea and did not think it would bring people to Perth.

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